Civil Liability Bill: call for evidence

06 September 2018

Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Civil Liability [Lords] Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament?

If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.

The Committee will first meet on Tuesday 11 September 2018. It will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage, which is expected to be not later than 9.00pm on Tuesday 9 October 2018. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 9.00pm on Tuesday 9 October 2018.*

* In the last Parliamentary Session, the following Public Bill Committees concluded their consideration of the Bill earlier than scheduled: Criminal Finances, Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts), Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs), Neighbourhood Planning, Savings (Government Contributions), Technical and Further Education, Commonwealth Development Corporation, Children & Social Work, National Citizen Service, and Bus Services.

Aims of the Bill

The Civil Liability Bill [HL] (the Bill) has three parts:

  • Part 1 deals with whiplash;
  • Part 2 deals with the personal injury discount rate;
  • Part 3 sets out the final provisions and deals with regulations, extent, commencement and short title.

Part 1 - Whiplash claims

The Bill contains part of a package of measures intended to introduce the Government’s proposed reforms. Part 1 of the Bill would:

  • provide for a tariff of compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for whiplash claims. The tariff figures would be set in supporting regulations; draft whiplash injury regulations have been published;
  • introduce a regulatory ban on seeking or offering to settle whiplash claims without medical evidence;
  • provide for the Judiciary, in exceptional circumstances, to apply an uplift, of a maximum specified percentage (20% under the published draft regulations), to the amount of damages payable under the tariff.

Small claims track limit for personal injury claims to be increased

As part of its package of reforms, the Government intends to raise the small claims track limit from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accident-related personal injury claims, and to £2,000 for other personal injury claims. This would bring many more claims, including whiplash claims, within a regime where legal costs are not usually awarded to the successful party, meaning that many more claimants would probably conduct their claim without legal representation. This proposal does not form part of the Bill and would be achieved by secondary legislation (effecting a change to the Civil Procedure Rules).

Part 2 - Personal injury discount rate

Part 2 of the Bill includes the provision about the discount rate. The main change is that the determination of the rate must now be based upon a “rate of return that, in the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, a recipient of relevant damages could reasonably be expected to achieve”. Instead of the zero risk approach the rate will be based upon:

1. (i) more risk than a very low level of risk, but
2. (ii) less risk than would ordinarily be accepted by a prudent and properly advised individual investor who has different financial aims.
3. A fine distinction is being enshrined in the law, between a risk averse recipient (but one who accepts some risk) and a normally risk averse investor. The Bill enshrines a procedure for regular reviews of the discount rate and that there will be an ‘expert panel’ to assist the Lord Chancellor in determining the rate.

The relevant documentation relating to the Bill, including the explanatory notes and impact assessments, can be found on the Parliamentary Bill page.

Follow the progress of the Civil Liability [Lords] Bill

The Bill has completed its passage through the House of Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 June 2018. It had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 4 September 2018.

This Bill has now been committed to a Public Bill Committee which will hold its first meeting on Tuesday 11 September 2018.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

Deadline for written evidence submissions

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration and possibly reflect it in an amendment. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents pages. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it.

The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 11 September 2018; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage, which is expected to be on Tuesday 9 October 2018. Please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Tuesday 9 October 2018.

Your submission should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk

Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here (PDF PDF 1.25 MB).

Image: iStockphoto

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