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It may be more than two years since the legislation was passed and there is still plenty of uncertainty around the detail, but a date has finally been set for the implementation of the Civil Liability Act and the so-called “whiplash reforms” it contains.

Having been much delayed, the government seems determined to keep its promise that the reforms would come into effect in May. So determined in fact, that some have suggested May 31, a bank holiday, has been chosen as the kick-off date solely to give as much time as possible to complete outstanding work without having to push the launch back, yet again.

While the tariffs for soft-tissue injuries of different severities have been published and the small claims court limit for RTA claims set at £5,000, precisely how members of the public will input their claims into the new portal or even know that they have to, are details that remain to be spelled out.

Clearly, the Ministry of Justice has a long list of tasks to tick off by the end of May, not least an extensive communications effort to inform road users about the new portal. There are also some key issues that require urgent clarification, such as how the new rules apply to accident victims with both a whiplash and another kind of injury.

It currently seems as though the issue of these so-called ‘hybrid injury’ victims will have to be settled in the courts, which will inevitably extend the period of uncertainty well beyond the May launch. It’s no small consideration given that as many as 25% of whiplash injury victims also suffer another injury.

Aside from the tariffs being on the lower end of expectations, there are few surprises in the statutory instruments that set out the parameters for the 2018 Act. Vulnerable road users, including cyclists, motor cyclists and children, will still be exempt, though no mention is made of the electric scooter riders who have started zipping around cities since the original legislation was passed.

Equally conspicuous by its absence, is any talk of the universal reductions in motor premiums promised by insurers and government alike. The figure of £35 was the most frequently mentioned before and immediately after the passage of the Bill into law, but insurers have been noticeably quiet on the subject despite the number of motor claims being almost halved in 2020, by successive lockdowns.

Provision has been made for a review of whether or not any benefit does indeed get passed on to motor insurance buyers, but not until 2024.

In this video, originally released shortly after the legislation was passed, ARAG underwriting director David Haynes explains the consequences for legal expenses insurance providers and why the Civil Liability Act makes motor legal protection more important than ever.


As well as protecting policyholders and ensuring they receive 100% of any compensation they may be due, for injuries sustained in a motor accident, ARAG will also ensure that they do not have to navigate the still highly uncertain claims process alone.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.


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