The reality of one aspect of the government’s proposed civil litigation reforms has now become clear. The head of civil litigation funding at the Ministry of Justice, Robert Wright, has owned up to the fact the government is not going to be able to ensure that the planned 10% uplift in accident claim damages levels is indeed applied. This uplift is a critical part of the government’s reforms and is supposed to help compensate those making accident claims with the cost of any solicitor succcess fee or “after the event” [ATE] insurance premium, both of which will no longer be recoverable by a successful injury claimant following the planned changes.
The MoJ have admitted that they will be relying on the courts to make sure this 10% increase is carried through – and for personal injury solicitors to make sure that happens in cases settled prior to the final hearing. I don’t consider myself a cynical person, but this just sounds like caving into insurance companies. Contrary to popular belief, one of the main problems with escalating legal costs in accident compensation claim cases, is the unreasonable approach taken by many insurance companies – who regularly fight claims to the bitter end regardless of the apparent merits of the claim. The government is apparently trusting these self same insurance companies to do the decent thing and to voluntarily agree to pay an additional 10% in the level of damages – which, in the absence of standard compensation levels, is itself an incredibly vague concept.
The winners – the insurance companies.
The losers – all victims of no-fault accidents who deserve compensation, not to say the concept of justice itself.