The Queen's Speech set out the Government's plans to reinstate proposals on whiplash reforms and driverless cars. However the future of the discount rate consultation remains uncertain.
The Government has introduced 27 laws it hopes to pass in the next two years. Amongst the 27 are eight separate Bills in relation to Brexit.
The Government will press ahead with personal injury reforms with the honourable aims of combatting fraud and tackling the endemic compensation culture, in a bid to reduce average motor premiums by £35. The reforms will now be introduced in separate legislation to the reforms to the court system, in a new Civil Liabilities Bill.
The Bill will echo many of the proposals contained in the Prisons and Courts Bill, including introducing a tariff system for claims with an injury duration of between 0 and 24 months (to replace the JC Guidelines) and a ban on offers to settle without medical evidence in RTA-related whiplash claims.
However it is unclear whether an increase to the small claims limit will reappear as the briefing notes to the Queens Speech failed to include this as a main element of the Bill. The Prisons and Courts Bill, which was shelved because of the general election, had sought to increase the small claims track to £5,000 for RTA-related PI claims and £2,000 for non-RTA PI claims.
In light of Brexit, this government has an awful lot on its agenda so it’s hard not to see the potential for this legislation to slip down the running order. Insurers will need to be vocal in their support if they want to ensure these measures maintain momentum.
The Queen confirmed the Government will introduce an Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the modern transport revolution.
The Bill will extend compulsory motor insurance to automated driving and provides vehicle insurers with the ability to recover compensation payments from vehicle or software manufacturers where the collision is the fault of the driverless vehicle. The Bill will also establish a common set of standards to ensure electric charging points are consistent across the country.
The Queen's Speech failed to mention any legislation in relation to the revision the discount rate. The latest consultation closed on 11 May 2017 and a government response was expected in August 2017, however it remains to be seen whether one will be forthcoming. As the briefing note to the Queen's Speech noted there would be room in the Civil Liabilities Bill for wider personal injury reform, it is hoped this much needed reform will be addressed in this legislation.