The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has failed to meet its own deadline to respond to the latest whiplash claims consultation, it emerged yesterday.
Earlier this month the MoJ said it had considered responses to proposals in the consultation and would publish its views before the Parliamentary recess. Yesterday the House of Lords began its summer break, joining the House of Commons, which rose last week.
The proposals, the latest stage of the government’s plans to crack down on whiplash claims, were made in a letter sent to stakeholders by justice minister, Lord Faulks, at the beginning of May. They included a 10% cut in fixed fees for medical reports and an end to law firms owning the agencies that commission them.
In an update on its website on 3 July, the MoJ said it had received more than 150 responses, pledging: “An MoJ response summarising the comments received and the effect they had on the draft rules will now be published before summer recess.”
It insisted that the time taken to respond to comments arising from the “consultative letter” amounted to only a “short delay” which “does not impact on the overall Autumn implementation timetable.”
An MoJ spokeswoman would only confirm yesterday that “we will respond in due course” and declined to comment on any impact on implementation that might be caused by the delay.
When the 26-day consultation was launched, amendments to the RTA Protocol and CPR were scheduled to be formulated and presented to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee in June, “with a view to their being approved by the committee at its July meeting for implementation in October”.
Fixed fees for medical reports proposed by Lord Faulks included £180 for a general practitioner and £420 for a consultant orthopaedic surgeon – cuts of £20 and £5 respectively compared to the Association of Medical Reporting Organisations agreement currently in force.