Whiplash Reforms delayed until May 2021
In a statement made today, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has confirmed that implementation of the Whiplash Reform Programme has been pushed back to May 2021.
It comes as no surprise that the reforms have been delayed. The surprise many commentators will have is the delay of one month.
Is this long enough will be the question asked? The answer to that leads us to the Civil Procedure Rules Committee. We have long said, as has the rest of the claimant, insurance and defendant industry, that most businesses would need at least a three-month lead in time to make the required system changes. What is needed are the rules and we hope they will be released swiftly. We are told the portal is ready but that equally it has been built on assumptions of what the rules may be. Surely if those assumptions are wrong there will be a more significant issue?
It could be easily argued that a longer delay, especially mid-lockdown, is required and there is merit to that argument given there has been an absence of detail provided since the previous delay was announced and we can only hope that more detail is released swiftly.
Some had of course hoped that the reforms may be kicked into the long grass but from the tone of Robert Buckland’s statement the intention is certainly there to push forward with the reforms.