Justice Select Committee raises concerns over Civil Liability Bill

Justice Select Committee raises concerns over Civil Liability Bill

19th May 2018

A Commons Justice Select Committee has raised serious concerns about the impact that the Civil Liability Bill will have on access to justice.

The Civil Liability Bill proposes, among other things, to raise the personal injury small claims limit for road traffic accidents to £5,000. In effect, this will prevent anybody making low-value PI claims from being able to claim back the costs for legal representation should they win.

The insurance industry is largely in favour of the proposals, while the legal sector believes the changes will prevent access to justice for people who cannot afford legal counsel, or who would be unprepared or unable to represent themselves.

In a strongly-worded statement after the Chair of the Justice Committee, Bob Neill MP, said:

“Access to justice, including the right of access to the courts, is a cornerstone of the rule of law but these reforms risk putting that right in doubt.

“We share strong concerns that were raised during our inquiry on this issue, including concerns about the financial and procedural barriers that claimants might face.

“The Ministry of Justice has made some welcome moves to develop the electronic platform to compensate for claimants’ anticipated lack of legal representation.

“However, we remain to be convinced that this will be effective or sufficient.

“This is a vitally important point of principle on which the Government should reflect.

“The small claims limit for personal injury should not be increased unless Ministers can explain how it will make sure that access to justice is not affected.”