Claimant lawyers are set to have to pay a fee for every new claim lodged with the portal from next year, it has emerged.

Claims Portal Ltd has contacted solicitors outlining plans for 2016, with the changes divided into two phases.

The first phase, in April, will see interim improvements to the service including more functions for users and easier access to ongoing claims.

The second phase, scheduled for December 2016, will include the introduction of ‘User Pays’, meaning the company will apply a charge to claimant representatives using the portal at the point of submitting a new claims notification form.

A spokesman for Claims Portal said the charge is likely to be between £1 and £3 per claims notification form, which will be non-refundable.

It will not be recoverable by claimants from compensators as a disbursement and will be used to cover the cost of the portal and related services.

The portal is used for all road traffic accident (RTA) and personal injury cases valued up to £25,000 and is designed to speed up the process for securing compensation.

The portal is currently funded by insurers through a levy, but it is understood pressure has now come to change this arrangement and spread the costs between insurers and claimants.

There is no further detail on how much claimants will have to pay to begin claims, but it is a move that is unlikely to be welcomed by a sector that has faced significantly reduced fixed costs in recent years.

In 2013, fixed recoverable costs were reduced from £1,200 to £500 and the scope of the portal increased to include higher-value claims and claims involving employer or public liability.

According to the Claims Portal website, there were 865,474 RTA claim notification forms (CNFs) lodged with the portal in 2014/15. Since the the start of May, 363,733 CNFs have been sent.

More than 50,000 CNFs were sent in 2014/15 for accident claims at work and almost 70,000 were sent in relation to public liability claims.