Government denies Law Society access to Road Traffic Accident portal reports

The Law Society has expressed its anger after a request for the report on which the Road Traffic Accident [RTA Portal] reforms are based was rejected by the government.

Whilst the Ministry of Justice has a right to turn down requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, the Law Society contends that the rejection marks an attempt to hide information about the decision making process behind the reforms.

The proposed reforms would see a massive cut in the fixed recoverable legal fee figures for injury claims up to the value of £10,000 from £1200 to £500. There are also plans to make it possible for employment and public liability claims to be made through the RTA Portal.

The Law Society is not the only organisation calling for greater transparency over the decision-making process behind civil justice reforms. Next week, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Motor Accident Solicitors Society will go to the High Court to ask for a review behind the decision to withhold the report.

The government’s personal injury law advisor Paul Fenn is said to have written the report having carried out various studies into how the RTA system could be improved. Indeed, reforms are generally based on extensive research but it is argued by some that in this instance, lobbying from the insurance sector experts and the unqualified opinions of ministers had too much influence when drafting reforms.

Whilst the reforms are due to come into force on the 1st of April, there have already been various hitches. Chris Grayling was forced to postpone the expansion of the portal following fears that it would not be able to cope with the volume of claims but a new date has not yet been announced. Feedback is also due following a consultation over new fees which ended in January.

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