Progress at last: Civil Liability Bill brings promise of certainty on discount rate and whiplash reform

Following the government’s announcement of their intention to bring forward reforms to the framework for setting the personal injury discount rate within the Civil Liability Bill, the government has published both the Bill and a response to the Justice Select Committee’s report on their inquiry into the draft discount rate legislation.

The Bill also contains the expected measures to further reform whiplash claims, which includes seeking to impose a tariff-based damages system and bans pre-medical offers.

Whilst the Bill is a big stride in the right direction towards driving further efficiencies and fairness into the space of whiplash claims, there remains a lot to play for on the detail to ensure it achieves its aim.

With regard to the discount rate, the Ministry of Justice has thankfully explicitly rejected the Justice Committee's suggestion that the existing evidence of overcompensation was insufficient for an immediate review and is rightly pressing on with its reforms.

In particular, it was a concern at the Justice Committee stage that mandating full expert panel involvement in the first review of the rate might slow the process. Overall, compensators in both the private and public sectors should take comfort that the profound difficulties that the current rate has caused is being addressed.