Whiplash reform - Covid-19 causes another delay

24 April 2020 | David Young

The Ministry of Justice have issued a Written Ministerial Statement announcing a delay to the implementation of the Whiplash Reform Programme until April 2021.

Whiplash reform - Covid-19 causes another delay

Following on from the Government's previous announcement in February, Robert Buckland, The Lord Chancellor and Secretary to State for Justice, made this statement:

'I would like to provide an update on next steps for the Whiplash Reform Programme.

The Government remains firmly committed to implementing these measures which are intended to control the number and cost of whiplash claims. Under the Programme, we will increase the small claims track limit for road traffic accident related personal injury claims to £5,000; as well as introduce a fixed tariff of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for whiplash injuries, and a ban on the making or accepting of offers to settle a whiplash claim without a medical report.

While the whiplash reform measures remain important, the Government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can.

The Government indicated on 27 February 2020 that after careful consideration it had decided to implement the whiplash reforms in August 2020. However, it is apparent that the current Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the medical, legal and insurance sectors. While the whiplash reform measures remain important, the Government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can.

As a result, the Government has considered representations from key stakeholder groups and agrees that now is not the time to press ahead with significant transformational change to the personal injury sector.

We have therefore decided to delay the implementation of the whiplash reform programme to April 2021. This will enable key sectors of this country's business to focus their energies on delivering their response to Covid-19, and will allow the Government to focus on delivering key services in the justice area during this difficult time.

The Government will continue to monitor developments in relation to the current pandemic and will, if necessary, make further announcements in regard to the implementation of these important reforms.'