The future of the RTA Portal will become clearer on Friday when a protocol, forms and rules for a new small-claims system are finalised at a meeting of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee.

The protocol will enable the system to deal with claims up to £25,000, and employer and public liability claims, for the first time – although the government has yet to confirm when this extension will happen after postponing the 1 April rollout.

In the meantime, the company operating the portal has warned users to expect delays if the protocol differs from the draft published by the Ministry of Justice last year.

The resulting delays to processing claims – and extra work for firms – could come at a time when fixed costs for low-value portal work have been slashed from £1,200 to £500.

Tim Wallis, chairman of Claims Portal Limited, said: ‘We’re building software on the basis of the drafts with April still in mind. If the software is radically affected [by the final protocol] there may be a question mark over whether we could deliver a portal on 1 April.

‘If the changes are more minor we can do a manual workaround which users had to live with last time. They may require additional work and labour – that may give reason for complaint.’