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Civil Litigation Section

Royal assent for whiplash reforms

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Two pieces of legislation came into force just before Christmas which will transform the personal injury sector and set the ball rolling on sweeping court reforms.

Royal assent has been granted to both the Civil Liability Bill and Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill.

The Civil Liability Act introduces a tariff on damages for soft tissue injuries sustained in an RTA. This is likely to be implemented in April 2020 at the same time as the government introduces a new £5,000 small claims limit for RTA claims. Both measures are expected to significantly reduce the number of lawyers working in the low-value claims sector.

The Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Act will allow ‘appropriately qualified and experienced’ court and tribunal staff to deal with routine matters usually handled by judges. It will also allow the judiciary to be  deployed across jurisdictions where they are most needed. The legislation is expected to be the first of several law changes to enable the court modernisation programme.

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