UK: Civil Liability Bill Continues Progress Through Commons

Last Updated: 7 September 2018
Article by Mark Hemsted

Most Read Contributor in UK, November 2018

The Civil Liability Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday evening, in which the principles of the proposed legislation were debated.

Pointing to rising whiplash claims in the context of reducing accident numbers and improving vehicle safety, the Lord Chancellor noted "Our reforms are focused on ensuring that genuine claimants have access to justice, receive a proportionate amount of compensation and that the system works for all who use it honestly."

Despite the provisions being strongly opposed by Labour, even being labelled as 'bogey man' legislation in relation to the spectre of fraudulent claims, the Government showed no signs of backing down on many of the provisions. Labour advised they would not support the Bill unless it is substantially amended, with battle lines being drawn for areas of likely amendment during Committee Stage.

Whiplash

The whiplash provisions were hotly contested during the debate and some concessions were made.

The Lord Chancellor accepted at the outset that vulnerable road users (cyclists, motor cyclists and pedestrians) will be excluded from both the tariff system and the small claims track increase. The Ministry of Justice had previously conceded in the Lords that such users would be exempt from the tariff, but not the small claims increase. This is a sensible amendment given the added complexity of such cases which comprise only a minor proportion of total claims.

The Government also pledged to ensure that insurers will pass on savings to motorists, whilst avoiding any undue administrative burden. This is supported in principle by insurers. The Treasury has already consulted on proposed provisions and final draft Regulations are expected to be published at the Committee Stage.

In relation to medical reports, which will now need to be obtained in all cases prior to settlement, it was also confirmed that medical examinations would be face to face rather than via the telephone. There had, however, been no previous indication that examinations would be anything other than face to face under the existing Medco system.

The tariff system was also scrutinised, with Labour echoing calls by Lord Woolf to remove this provision from the Bill. In the alternative, Labour called for the levels to be set by the Judicial College. The Government has accepted that the Lord Chancellor will consult the Lord Chief Justice on the tariff, however, it remains to be seen whether this will go far enough for the opposition. The tariff system is central to the aims of the Bill and any removal would likely see current claim levels maintained.

Labour also proposes to lay amendments to the Bill to reduce the period for which the compensation tariff applies; to one year, rather than two, noting that it is much less likely that fraudulent cases will be those lasting for the longest time. Such an amendment would place many claims outside of the new regime and would likely prompt claims inflation to bring further claims outside the remit.

SCT limit

Much of the debate concerned the proposed small claims track rise. The Lord Chancellor noted, "By and large, these are very straightforward claims. We want to ensure that support is there so that people are able to bring the claims in person".

Labour called for the SCT increase to be included on the face of the Bill (despite this being set by secondary legislation), and that the increase should be inflationary only; £1,500 for both RTA and EL/ PL claims. A failure to elevate the limit in motor claims would see a large proportion of current cases retained in the fast track, maintaining current legal cost levels.

Bob Neill, Conservative chairman of the Justice Select Committee, questioned the wisdom of the EL/PL increase, noting, the Government "should consider where we should set the appropriate limit in relation to employment liability and public liability, which almost invariably create more complex issues... It is much harder to expect people, on an equality of arms basis, to deal with issues arising collaterally from the main point in such cases".

Given the additional complexity of such cases, it may be that the Government looks again at the limit; however the £2,000 proposal appears to strike the right balance and achieve the Government's objectives.

CMCs

There were also calls from both sides of the aisle to improve the regulation of CMCs, particularly in relation to cold calling, with Labour rightly cautioning that the provisions may inadvertently enhance CMC activity in this area.

Labour called for an outright ban on cold calling. The Government noted it was already taking action in relation to CMCs, which has already seen them be subjected to FCA regulation. The Government and the FCA both recently consulted on the future regulation of CMCs. Final rules are awaited prior to the FCA becoming the regulator on 1 April 2019.

Discount rate

Section two of the Bill, in relation to the discount rate, had an easier ride.

Labour advised they would be proposing amendments to strengthen safeguards in the Bill. The only specific amendment mentioned was ensuring the expert panel would be consulted on the first review. This would undo a previous Lords amendment allowing the first review to be carried out without the expert panel under the guidance of the Government Actuary, in order to expedite the setting of a new rate. Accordingly, it is hoped this will not now be reversed.

The Government did acknowledge that Periodic Payment Orders (PPOs) could be introduced more frequently, particularly in relation to vulnerable claimants, although it remains to be seen how this will be dealt with in the Bill. Thankfully, there was no discussion of this being mandatory, nor will there be a presumption to utilise a PPO as the starting point.

Next steps

The Bill will now proceed to the Committee Stage, where a group of cross party MPs will scrutinise it in detail and consider what amendments are required. Whilst it has not yet been scheduled, the Committee has to complete its review by 9 October.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions