Industry welcomes incoming Justice Secretary David Gauke

David Gauke

Both insurers and personal injury lawyers have welcomed the appointment of David Gauke as Justice Secretary.

Gauke, the sixth person to take the position in as many years, replaces David Lidington, who has been appointed as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office in the reshuffle.

While an Association of British Insurers spokesman said the trade body welcomed the appointment, campaign group Access to Justice said it was a chance to revisit the government’s controversial whiplash proposals.

“There has been a revolving door at the MoJ so what is most important is that there a period of stability at the department,” said spokesman Andrew Twambley.

“We hope that Mr Gauke, a solicitor with a background in the Treasury, re-sets the MoJ’s mission as upholding access to justice and making sure there is fair play for all UK citizens, not just the wealthy or powerful corporations who can afford to use the law when it suits them.

“We look forward to meeting the new Lord Chancellor to press our case on behalf of 600,000 people injured each year who will lose access to legal advice if the PI reforms become law.”

The government resurrected the whiplash reform agenda in June last year, promising to tackle “rampant compensation culture” in the Queen’s Speech.

The reforms outlined in the Civil Liability Bill, largely a transplant of those in the Prison and Courts Bill from the previous Parliament, include a ban on pre-med offers and a fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries with a duration of up to two years.

During his tenure former Lord Chancellor Lidington presided over the publication of draft legislation suggesting an alternative framework for setting the Ogden discount rate.

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