The Ministry of Justice has neither confirmed nor denied a press report last week that justice secretary Chris Grayling might raise the small claims limit for personal injury (PI) victims to £15,000.
The Daily Telegraph indicated that the move was being considered in response to the judicial review of the RTA portal fee cut brought by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Motor Accident Solicitors Society.
The story – which was not sourced but seems unlikely to have come from anywhere other than the Ministry of Justice – is being seen as a warning shot to lawyers that worse is to come should they resist the government’s current proposals.
The Telegraph said that as a result of the legal action, Mr Grayling “is understood to be reassessing whether more drastic changes should be brought in”.
It said: “The revised plans could see the limit on cases being made in the small claims court, where claimants typically represent themselves, increasing from £1,000 for personal injuries and £5,000 for other cases to £15,000 for all claims. The move could cut insurers’ costs with the savings passed on to motorists, sources said.”
The small claims limit for non-PI cases rises to £10,000 from 1 April, with a view to increasing it to £15,000 in time. The government is currently consulting on whether to increase the small claims limit in PI to £5,000 in a bid to tackle fraudulent whiplash claims.
In response to the story, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We have consulted on changes intended to ensure claims are handled quickly and efficiently and accident victims with genuine cases can be compensated as soon as possible.
“These changes, along with our wider reforms, are intended to bring more balance to the system, make lawyers’ costs proportionate and in turn create an environment where insurers can pass on savings to their customers through lower premiums. Following recent legal challenges the Justice Secretary is examining all options.”