A six-month hiatus on sweeping personal injury reforms is necessary to avert a ‘meltdown’ of the civil justice system, Chancery Lane has said.

The Law Society fears that an entirely new funding system, proposed last week by the Ministry of Justice, will be too much for law firms to bear.

Fees for low-value RTA claims will be slashed by £700, with higher-value RTA cases, and employer and public liability claims also subject to fixed fees from next April.

The new system would come on top of the Jackson reforms, the referral fee ban and swingeing cuts to legal aid for civil cases.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has already started action that could lead to a judicial review of the process, while the Law Society has called for a delay to prevent what it believes could be a disaster.

A spokesman said: ‘While there are merits in judicially reviewing that process, we consider that the most appropriate course of action would be for the MoJ to delay implementation for at least six months thereby giving more time for full engagement with stakeholders so that all reforms can be implemented as smoothly as possible.

‘As things stand at the moment, implementation of the reforms in April 2013 may cause meltdown in the civil justice system.’

The call comes as firms warn that the reforms will cause harm to injury victims, either through making it impossible for them to find representation or by increasing the risk of negligence.