The Prisons and Courts Bill, which will be considered by MPs at Second Reading today, is part of a package of measures which aims to disincentivise minor, exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims. The Ministry of Justice believes the combination of the general damages tariffs in the Bill, the ending of settlement of claims without a medical report, and the raising of the small claims threshold will deter people from making minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims.

Ahead of the Second Reading of the Prison and Courts Bill, Rob Smale, Claims Director at Ageas, comments:

“The claimant must be at the heart of the process. They must be treated fairly and protected from the gaming which currently occurs. They must not be seen as a commodity to be traded or seen as an opportunity to make money.

“In an environment where legal costs recovery is removed for all small claims, concern remains that the market will be overtaken by un-regulated parties, claims management companies and paid McKenzie Friends, who have little or no regard for the welfare of the claimant, so long as there is money to be made in the process. Claimant exploitation must not be allowed to happen.

“A system to allow claimants to easily bring a claim in a non-adversarial way, similar to, or part of, the current industry claims portal, needs to be developed and put in place before any changes to the small claims track limit are implemented.

“Wider reforms to other areas of cost, such as credit hire/repair should also be considered to avoid displacement of players into other more lucrative areas of business.”