•Discount rate decision delayed again.
The Association of British Insurers lost their application for Judicial review of the Lord Chancellors decision to announce the outcome of her review of the discount rate on personal injury damages without a consultation exercise taking place.
However, in any event, the outcome of the review which was to be announced on the 31 January 2017 has been put back to February 2017.
•The Law Society and judges on the Civil Executive team have criticised the MoJ’s plans to raise the small claims limit in personal injury cases to £5000.00.
The Law Society have made their position with regards to the increase in the small claims limit for personal injury clear by stating that if this took effect, it would prevent claimants from recovering their legal costs meaning that many would not be able to obtain legal representation and would have to fight their claims themselves. They have stated that to increase the limit would result in a “David and Goliath” situation in many claims where insurers could afford legal representation whilst claimants would be left having to deal with legal procedure on their own, creating an inequality of arms.
Following on from this, judges on the Civil Executive team have stated that the increase would put considerable stresses on court staff who would have to deal with an increase in claimants acting as litigants in person which may well result in the courts becoming gridlocked in an industry which is being shrunk by cuts in any event.
•Lawyer groups have urged Lord Jackson to rethink his fixed costs plans for claims worth up to £250k.
Organisations across the profession have urged Lord Justice Jackson to be cautious which considering making significant increases in the limit for fixed costs.
The Law Society have said that the proposals may make some cases economically unviable, leaving either successful claimants or their lawyers to foot the bill even if they have won their case.
Although the Law Society acknowledged that fixed costs provides assurances for both claimants and defendants in straight forward low value claims, they stated that it was wrong to apply the same rules to all the cases.
•Doctor jailed after submitting false medical claims
A doctor has been jailed for 2 years for submitting false medical claims in personal injury road traffic accident claims adding up to £183,000.00.
GP Benjamin Chang was found guilty of fraud by false representation and for being in possession of articles for use in fraud and money laundering and will also be subject to a confiscation order.
It transpired that he falsely put forward claims for medical assessments and physiotherapy sessions which had not taken place.
Chang’s conduct came to light when a claimant queried an invoice with his solicitor regarding physiotherapy that he had never received. The solicitor then notified the police.