Changes affecting personal injury claims from April 2022
April is typically a month for changes in the legal landscape, including amendments and updates of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and April 2022 is no exception.
There are quite a few changes taking place, including but not limited to the following:-
1.New claims to be issued in the county court usually up to the value of £50,000 on or after 4 April 2022 need to be issued online rather than on paper using the “damages claims portal”. This is following amendments to Practice Direction 51ZB, effective from 4 April 2022. Users are required to register themselves to the MyHMCTS platform in order to use the portal.
Whilst it is expected that solicitors instructed by insurers will be aware of the changes, notice of claims being issued online are required to be given so that defences may also be filed online.
Failure to issue online may result in sanctions, which will be at the court’s discretion. There will no doubt be all the teething issues that come such technological changes.
2. The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2022 are effective from 6 April 2022 and include changes to:
a) The small claims track, with the “small claims limit” for non-road traffic claims increasing from £1,000 to £1,500 for accidents which occur on or after that date or where the date of knowledge is on or after 6 April 2022. However, this will not apply to “vulnerable” road-users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders. The changes also do not apply to claims involving children. In practice, this change may not affect vast majority of cases. Procedurally, in view of the changes which have affected the personal injury claims industry over the last few years, for most practitioners it may mean taking extra care, for instance when drafting a claim form for instance to specify that the value of the claim exceeds £1,500 to avoid any technical challenges.
b) CPR Part 10 in relation to Acknowledgement of Service, removing the Practice Direction but consolidating some of the text in the substantive rules.
c) CPR Part 12 related to Default Judgment, also removing the practice direction and incorporating some of the text in the substantive rules.
d) CPR Part 39 to widen the application of granting anonymity to a “person” rather than the current “party or witness” (rule 39.2 (4) if the court thinks this is fit for securing a “proper” administration of justice following the case of Brearley v Higgs & Sons (a Firm)  EWHC 1342 (Ch).
e) Part 47 with regard to the powers of an authorised costs officer, for purposes of clarification following issues highlighted in the case of PME v Scouts  EWHC 3421 QB and PME v Scouts  EWHC B10 where it was concluded that an authorised court officer has no jurisdiction to undertake a provisional assessment of legal costs.
As can be expected there are other changes being proposed to try and simply the CPR and which are currently under consultation.
Simplification of any rules that help further the proper administration of justice can only be a good thing.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*