The government has resisted demands for a ban on cold calling as both sides in the personal injury debate prepare to face off.

Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald this week suggested a ban on cold calls would have little effect as those responsible are unregulated anyway.

A ban, which already applies to solicitors, has been presented as an alternative to reforms of the personal injury sector and has been supported by a number of practitioner groups.

Pressed by shadow justice minister Christina Rees in a parliamentary written question if he would assess the merits of banning claims management companies for making PI cold calls, Heald was unmoved.

‘Claims management companies (CMCs) are already banned from introducing claims, or details of potential claims to solicitors if these have been obtained by an unsolicited approach by telephone or in person,’ he said.

‘The majority of unsolicited calls for personal injury claims are made by illegal unregulated businesses. Regulators are working together to tackle illegal activity where identified.’

The minister said the recent consultation on PI reforms asked about measures to apply to CMCs. The government will respond by 7 April.

According to figures released today by the Claims Management Regulator, run by the Ministry of Justice, 29 CMCs engaged with direct marketing were issued with written advice between October and December 2016.

New investigations were started into five companies, two of which are involved in personal injury marketing, and 12 formal investigations were progressing in relation to possible breaches of rules around nuisance calls, texts and emails.

Meanwhile, the issue of personal injury reform is set to be debated in parliament next week when the Association of British Insurers and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers go head-to-head.

The one-off evidence session will feature ABI director James Dalton and APIL president Neil Sugarman and will be held on Tuesday morning.