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JR looms as MoJ admits: new whiplash rules “could lead to misunderstanding”


Whiplash: JR threat

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has admitted that the new rules for whiplash claims, introduced on 1 October this year, “could in practice lead to some misunderstanding” and may have to be amended.

The admission came as it emerged that the MoJ had received a judicial review letter before claim, challenging the new rules.

Among other things, the rules introduced a fee cap of £180 for GPs’ medical reports, limited medical evidence to a single report in most cases and prevented the reporting expert from being the treating physician.

A spokesman for the MoJ said: “We have been made aware that recent changes to the court rules, implementing the latest phase of the government’s whiplash reforms, could in practice lead to some misunderstanding.

“We are currently considering the need to amend these rules and will issue an update in due course.”

Meanwhile, last month’s Civil Procedure Rule Committee meeting heard that the MoJ had received a “judicial review letter before claim” in respect of the new whiplash rules and revised pre-action protocol.

According to minutes of the meeting, the letter “raised issues concerning the adequacy of the MoJ’s consultation” and questioned some of the “wide definitions” used in the paper.

The committee heard that the ministry was preparing a response, which would be considered by Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice Richards, the committee’s chair.

The MoJ consulted on the new rules through a letter from justice minister Lord Faulks [2]sent to stakeholders in early May. The letter, sent on 2 May 2014, asked for responses by 28 May.

The MoJ missed its own deadline [3]to respond to the consultation, promising it would make its decisions known before the summer recess. The announcement was made at the beginning of August [4].