Whiplash pre-action protocol progressing through CPRC

Stop whiplash

Some progress is being made on getting whiplash portal rules in front of the Lord Chancellor for approval, Civil Procedure Rule Committee meeting minutes suggest.

The whiplash portal, originally expected to make a debut in April 2020, has faced several delays, most recently being pushed back to May 2021.

A CPRC meeting of 22 January in part focused on the proposed pre-action protocol and its annexes, which have not yet been made public.

A CPRC sub-committee recommended that the draft pre-action protocol, road traffic accident small claims track pre-action protocol and its annexes should be approved, minutes from the main meeting show.

A later CPRC meeting took place on 5 February, at which any comments from the Master of the Rolls were scheduled to be tabled in. Minutes for the February gathering are not yet available. 

Once the project has the Master of the Rolls’ and CPRC approval, next steps would include getting sign off from Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland. It is understood that the CPRC still needs to look over the rules. 

Meeting

During the 22 January meeting, the portal build so far was described by the sub-committee as “impressive, user-friendly and uses clear and accessible language”.

The sub-committee further noted that the portal follows the pre-action protocol in “all material respects and there are no issues which would merit the rejection of the pre-action protocol”.

Two district judges – DJ Cohen and DJ Parker – were co-opted to assist with the standard directions drafting, which is expected to form part of the proposed new practice direction. 

The draft practice direction and other consequential changes, including revised forms, were then to go before the full CPRC “in due course”.

Next steps

The portal itself was built by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau and has been ready for use, with the exception of the rules that will govern how it works, since last year. 

Insurers and claims sector businesses anticipate the government will turn to part two of the Civil Liability Act (2018) whiplash reforms in due course following its part one May deadline. 

Part two focuses on credit hire, early notification of claims, rehabilitation, recoverability of disbursements and introducing a system in which claims are divided into three categories: compensation for death, serious injuries and temporary injuries (including road traffic accident-related soft tissue injury claims).

The industry has previously urged the government not to rush reforms and “do it right”.  

Post understands that the Ministry of Justice has no further update since the written ministerial statement issued in January announcing the delay to the implementation of the portal.

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