Civil justice reforms must be ‘right, not rushed’

February 7, 2019


Injured people could be held to ransom in a system that does not work if the Government rushes to implement new reforms before they are ready, a leading lawyer warned today.


Brett Dixon, president of APIL, was speaking at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum event today in a session about the impact of civil litigation reform. He told attendees that: “The critical thing is to ensure that the new system for whiplash injuries in the Civil Liability Act works – however long that takes.”


“Injured people must not be held to ransom by the Government’s 2020 deadline for the introduction of these tariffs if the system does not work,” said Brett. “The process available must help them, and to do that it must work fairly and efficiently. At the moment, it does neither.”


Mr Dixon also expressed concerns about how compensation will be paid to people with life-changing injuries. Lump sums, subject to the discount rate, must be calculated on the basis of need, he said. Problems with the system of payment by instalments (known as periodical payment orders or PPOs) also need to be addressed.


“The Civil Justice Council has been asked to look into this which is good news,” he said. “But again, the timing will be critical. If the Government is determined to make changes let’s get them done properly and make sure we have a new way of using PPOs at the same time as changes to the discount rate are introduced. Let’s at least get this right.”

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