MPs protest at pace of costs reform and lack of overall impact assessment

Early day motion: MPs urge government to take stock

Only five MPs have so far signed an early day motion (EDM) expressing “deep concern” at the pace and extent of change in the motor accident compensation claims system, warning that further reform should not be contemplated until an assessment of their cumulative impact is undertaken.

They highlighted particular worries about the proposal to raise the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000.

The EDM – which is a way for MPs to draw attention to a particular issue – was laid by Labour MP David Crausby, with four other sponsors: Labour MPs Martin Caton and Alan Meale, and Liberal Democrats Andrew George and Bob Russell.

The MPs said they acknowledged the need to cut costs in the legal system but urged the government to ensure that this is not at the expense of innocent accident victims. They said “raising the small claims limit will drastically reduce access to justice for the genuine victims of road accidents”.

More broadly they argued that “the vast number of planned changes to the claims process will fundamentally change civil litigation in the UK and alter the balance between claimants and defendants”, insisting that impact assessments on the “individual, piecemeal reforms are insufficient and will not demonstrate the cumulative impact of all of the changes on those seeking justice”.

The EDM said the government should reconsider its plans to raise the small claims limit until a single impact assessment has been conducted that covers the Jackson reforms, referral fee ban, introducing of alternative business structures and proposed extension of the RTA Portal.

The MPs also called on the government “to complete a post-implementation review of the changes and their success in reducing the number of fraudulent whiplash claims and reducing costs before seeking further, and potentially unnecessary, changes without sufficient evidence and justification”.