Lord Justice Jackson’s Preliminary Report on Civil Litigation Costs revisits the thorny issue of whether the small claims track limit for personal injury claims should be raised from £1,000 to £5,000 (or somewhere in between). APIL, not surprisingly, expressed concern to Jackson LJ if this was introduced: “APIL’s membership survey suggests that almost 70% of all personal injury work consist of claims with general damages of less than £5,000. Solicitors firms that currently specialise in low value personal injury claims (i.e. below £5,000) would face a significant loss of business if the upper limit for small claims was increased. APIL suggests that the effect of the increase in the small claims limit in terms of lost business would be particularly acute in firms that specialise in Road Traffic Accident claims. APIL maintains that such firms would be ‘decimated due to the loss of a significant amount of business’. The reduction in the number of personal injury firms would create access to justice problems”.
FOIL were reported as believing that the small claims limit for personal injury claims should be raised to about £2,500, so long as there is an overhaul of the fixed fees that go with the present regime.
The Ministry of Justice only very recently reviewed this same issue and decided against changing the limit. It is therefore fascinating that Jackson LJ is willing to reopen this can of worms. He is clearly prepared to consider all options, regardless of who he upsets in the process.