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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what representations he has received on the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2018 in relation to children and protected parties injured in road traffic accidents using the new claims portal; and if he will make a statement.
The applicability of the Government’s whiplash reforms to both minors and other protected parties was debated by both Houses during the Parliamentary passage of the Civil Liability Act 2018.
We have since received representations on this issue from the Motor Accident Solicitors Society, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Association of Consumer Support Organisations.
As the Government made clear during the parliamentary debates, we see no fundamental reason why the level of compensation to be paid to minors or other protected parties in the event of a road traffic accident minor injury claim should be different to that paid to another injured party. The Government therefore intends that the tariff of fixed damages for whiplash injuries should apply to minors and protected parties.
The Government has since considered the separate issue of whether the proposed increase in the small claims limit for road traffic accident claims from £1,000 to £5,000 should apply to minors and protected parties. We have decided that, for the time being, they should be exempted from the increase in the limit and from the need to use the new online whiplash claims system which is intended to accompany implementation of the whiplash system. This is to enable consideration of the experience of non-vulnerable claimants using the new online service under the new limit before considering the long-term approach for children and other vulnerable parties.
All minors and other protected parties in civil proceedings are subject to specific protections through Part 21 of the Civil Procedure Rules. These include the requirement to be represented by a litigation friend and for the settlement of a claim to be approved by the court. These protections are unaffected by the measures in the Civil Liability Act.