Restriction on increase in small claims limit for relevant personal injuries

Part of Civil Liability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 11 Medi 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 3:00, 11 Medi 2018

Relatively rapidly, I would say that we have five types of disagreement with the amendments. Broadly speaking, those are political, philosophical, economic, financial and constitutional. The political disagreement is that the amendment would go to the heart of the Bill. The entire concept of the Bill is to try to effect a change in the current practice and process around whiplash claims by moving the claim limit to £5,000. That is part of the entire package—the tariffs and small claims limits are related to that.

Philosophically and fundamentally, we are not arguing that the shift to £5,000 is fundamentally a question of inflation. There are many other reasons why the small claims limit has been moved in the past. Indeed, in relation to some types of claim, as you will be aware Sir Henry, as one of our learned friends, some of the claims have been moved to £10,000, which goes a long way beyond inflation.

Largely, the driver of whether or not something is on a small claims track is to do with the nature of the claim, not the nature of inflation. However, if we worked on the narrow question of inflation, the Judicial College guidelines are currently on RPI as opposed to CPI. I respect the arguments that the hon. Member for Ashfield made but that is not the fundamental argument the Government are making.

The amendment would have curious financial implications. It would create a strange syncopated rhythm, whereby movements in CPI are not necessarily reflected in the triennial review except in £500 increments which, over time, mathematically will lead to peculiar results.

The fundamental reason we oppose the amendment is the final argument I mentioned, which is constitutional. This is business for the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, as it always has been, and it is not suitable to put in the Bill. On the basis of those political, philosophical, economic, financial and constitutional arguments, I respectfully request that the amendments be withdrawn.