Civil Liability Bill returns to the Lords

stylised photo of traffic
21 November 2018

The Civil Liability Bill returned to the House of Lords on Tuesday 20 November for consideration of Commons amendments in 'ping pong'.

Members discussed the duty of insurers to provide information to the Financial Conduct Authority on policy holders, the costs paid by insurers in respect of injuries sustained by third parties and the duty of HM Treasury to report to Parliament on the effects of the Act no later than 1 April 2024.

As both Houses have now agreed on the text of the bill it now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent when it will become an Act of Parliament (law).

A date for Royal Assent has yet to be scheduled.

Lords third reading: Wednesday 27 June

Members discussed a clause regarding the rate of return on investment of monetary damages in England and Wales, specifically the power of the court to take a different rate of return and extending the length of time until a review by the Lord Chancellor from three years to five.

Lords report stage: Tuesday 12 June

Members discussed subjects including the power of the Lord Chancellor to amend the definition of a whiplash injury, the amount of damages payable depending on the duration of an injury and the power of the courts to determine such amounts.

There were also two divisions (votes) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.

Members considered a change to remove a clause from the bill regarding the decision of the courts to award damages in cases where the duration of a whiplash injury due to driver negligence:

  • does not exceed, or is not likely to exceed, longer than two years
  • would not have exceeded, or would not be likely to have exceeded, more than two years if the injured party had taken reasonable steps to mitigate its effect

The clause would further make provision for:

  • the power of the Lord Chancellor to specify the amount of damages payable for such injuries
  • any psychological injuries inflicted on the same occasion as the whiplash injury to be taken into consideration
  • the treatment a physical or psychological injury as if the individual had taken reasonable steps to mitigate their impact
  • the continuation of the courts’ right to award additional damages for additional injuries

205 members were in favour of this amendment, with 218 against, and so the change was not made.

The next vote was on the insertion of a new clause to regulate the increase in the maximum value of small claims for a relevant injury from the current limit of £1000.

The clause would restrict Civil Procedure Rules from increasing the limit for the first time since 1999, without:

  • the written authorisation of the Lord Chancellor that the small claims limit, once adjusted for inflation, may increase to a maximum of £1500
  • the written authorisation of the Lords Chancellor that any further requests, again adjusted for inflation, may only increase the limit by £500

The clause defines the Civil Procedure Rules as all items on the consumer price index published by the statistics board, and a ‘relevant injury’ as an injury to the soft tissue in the neck, back and shoulder caused by negligence by a motor vehicle driver on the road.

169 members voted for this change and 183 voted against, and so the change was not made.

Third reading, a chance to 'tidy up' the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.

Lords committee stage day two: Tuesday 15 May

Members discussed subjects including cold-calling, reviewing the rate of return and motor vehicle insurance premiums.

Lords committee stage day one: Thursday 10 May

Members discussed subjects including the definition of a whiplash injury, vulnerable road users and alternative methods for setting damages award tariffs.

Lords second reading: Tuesday 24 April

Members discussed a number of subjects covered by the bill, including fraudulent injury claims, reductions in insurance premiums and proposals to delay a change in the personal injury discount rate until 2020.

Civil Liability Bill summary

This bill aims to:

  • reform the claims process for whiplash claims with injuries lasting up to two years as a result of road traffic accidents
  • make changes to the way the personal injury discount rate, applied to lumps sums awarded for future loss of income, is set

Further information

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