On the 20th December 2018, Royal Assent was given to the Civil Liability Bill which dealt with a tariff for road traffic accidents.
The Small Claims Limit is now £5,000 and a new Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Portal system will be established so that injured parties could deal with their own cases via that MOJ Portal System.
The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) were charged with delivering the system and, until recently, not much information was available from the MIB nor the Government as to what was going to happen.
The Government believes that the new MOJ Portal can be up and running by the 20th April 2020.
The current view of the MIB is that, whilst they can create systems, the MOJ needs to make decisions which, to date, they have not made.
In the absence of those decisions, the system cannot start on the 20th April 2020.
Indeed, many of those involved in the delivery of the system, such as leading judges and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), believe that the current progress will mean that it will be impossible to start on the 20th April 2020.
On the 30th July in London, the MIB gave a Seminar in a Q&A format to all those involved in the process, although it is not yet clear what came of this
New MOJ Portal and Claims Process.
Contact service centre providing a non-digital alternative for those who need it (this means that those who are unable to use modern technology will have to proceed via the telephone).
The Independent Review Service will manage dispute resolution (this means a system, which deals with cases where Insurers either reject responsibility wholly or in part, is yet to be fully fleshed out. It could be that there is an issue on liability, low velocity or causation).
The suggestion of the Government is that some sort of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) could be employed, using experienced professionals to deal with matters entirely on paper.
The integration of technology with organisations (the current ‘A to A of technology’ currently used in the present MOJ Portal needs to be developed before the new MOJ Portal, as it is anticipated by the Government that Professionals will use this also. They have not specified whether the Professionals will be Solicitors, Claims Management Companies or some other organisations such as McKenzie Friends).
Finally, communications to support organisation preparation, which one assumes will be information about the new system.
To date, no Rules have been produced and the MIB have pointed out that, without these, it is very difficult for the systems to progress.
The current Whiplash Reforms Programme Update can be found online here, which deals with what has happened from the week of the 15th July to October.
The MOJ has announced that the testing of the new system will start from October 16 2019.
Currently, the decisions that they have made are that vulnerable users, cyclists, pedestrians and children will not be included in the new MOJ Portal.
Also, it seems that neither will it include injuries involving whiplash partnered with other injuries, i.e. a whiplash strain to the neck together with bruising or a break to the legs.
Regarding items which are currently not being included, i.e. credit hire, credit repairs and rehabilitation, the Government say they will produce their proposals before the end of the year.
Currently, the position is that the MOJ and the MIB have sent out the key dates, and they still maintain that the new MOJ Portal System will go live on the 20th April 2020.
The new Tarriff System for whiplash claimants means that a claim worth £2,000 will now only be worth a few hundred pounds under the new regime.
However, this new Tariff has to be approved by the Judges and requires legislation for it to come into force.