Small claims limit for personal injury Contents


In this report we consider the impact of raising the small claims limit for personal injury (PI) from £1,000 to £2,000, and to £5,000 for RTA-related PI claims—part of a package of reforms that includes separate measures contained in the Civil Liability Bill. We look at the reforms that have already been made to the claims process for personal injury; the Government and industry response to insurance fraud; the potential impact of raising the small claims limit on different types of personal injury claim; and the impact of doing so on the judiciary and the courts. We also examine the Ministry of Justice’s proposals for implementing the small claims reforms, and consider the impact of increasing the small claims limit on different organisations that assist claimants.

A central consideration is that claimants in the Small Claims track are unlikely to have legal representation, as they cannot recover their legal costs incurred in bringing their claim from the other side, if the claim is successful. We conclude that increasing the small claims limit for PI creates significant access to justice concerns. While the Ministry of Justice is making laudable efforts to develop an electronic platform supplemented by guidance and support for unrepresented claimants, we conclude that this ambitious project risks falling short of creating a claims process that guarantees “unimpeded access to the courts”, a principle upheld by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the Unison case.

Our other principal conclusions and recommendations—many of which relate to our concerns about the impact on access to justice—can be summarised as follows:

Published: 17 May 2018