The full Ministry of Justice consultation proposes four central changes and asks for views on a range of other measures.

The key measures are:

  • Reduce or scrap damages for soft-tissue injury claims. Minor injuries would be classed as lasting either up to six or nine months.
  • Damages for injuries lasting longer than six or nine months should be graded and fixed according to duration. Minor injuries would receive £400 damages plus £25 for psychological impact. Injuries lasting 19-24 months will have a £3,600 tariff.
  • The small claims limit will rise to at least £5,000. The government’s preferred option is to apply to this to all personal injury claims. A figure above £5,000 is not ruled out. This is the only key measure that would not require primary legislation.
  • A ban on all pre-medical offers to settle. The only question appears whether this should apply only to RTA claims, what exemptions there should be, and how it would be enforced.

The scope of the consultation is, however, much wider. Other issues being considered include:

  • A mandatory requirement for referral sources to be included on the claims notification form.
  • Amending QOCS provisions so a claimant is required to seek the court’s permission to discontinue less than 28 days before trial.
  • Controls on costs in the credit hire market.
  • Requiring early notification of claims, taking inspiration from the Sweden model where claimants have 72 hours after their accident to seek and receive medical treatment.
  • Reduce the costs of rehabilitation, either through rehabilitation vouchers, defendants arranging and paying for rehab, expanding MedCo to handle rehab or scrapping rehab compensation altogether.
  • Restrictions on the recoverability of disbursements, for example for medical reports.