MoJ Retreats on Plans to Extend Claims Portal this April

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been forced to retreat over controversial plans to extend the Road Traffic Accident (RTA) portal in April 2013 after legal challenges were brought by the professional legal bodies conducting the judicial review of the plans.

The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) as well as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) argued that by enacting the proposals, the government would be acting unlawfully – a claim which Justice Secretary Chris Grayling later accepted. The MoJ has promised that the changes would only come into force by the April deadline if a full evaluation of the portal in its current form had been carried out, however this condition was not met. Although the MoJ set up an evaluation by a university Professor, he reported back in June 2011 that another 12 months of evidence was required in order to justify the extension of the RTA portal.

The MoJ’s radical proposals included cutting fees for the portal by more than 50% and increasing the claims limit for road accident compensation claims to £25,000 in a bid to speed up the claims process and reduce frivolous or fraudulent compensation claims. However, various legal professionals have argued that plans to implement these changes by April 2013 were “impractical” and lacking in “proper consideration”. Both MASS and APIL have stressed that they intend to assist the government in improving the portal and that the interests of injured victims remains their paramount concern.

The MoJ will now need to reassess the proposed timetable for implementing the changes and a new schedule is expected to be introduced early this year. The consultation will continue undeterred though, despite the many contentious issues that have been raised.

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