Civil Liability Bill to receive Royal Assent

Civil Liability Bill to receive Royal Assent

The Civil Liability Bill is due to receive Royal Assent today (December 20), expected to bring "significant changes" to the personal injury compensation system.

The bill will reform the law in England and Wales relating to whiplash claims and the legal framework by which the personal injury discount rate (PIDR) is set, thus aiming to reduce the pressure of meeting "excessive" compensation claims on the NHS.

The PIDR is the figure used to help set compensation payouts when people suffer serious injuries and was last changed by the Lord Chancellor in March 2017, when it was reduced from 2.5 per cent to -0.75 per cent.  

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Under the PIDR measures in the Civil Liability Bill, the 100 per cent compensation principle will be retained but the calculation of the discount rate "modernised" to reflect the reality of how claimants invest money.  

The Lord Chancellor will be required to set the discount rate at least every five years with independent advice, intended to offer "clarity and assurance" to claimants and those underwriting the costs.

The Lord Chancellor is expected to begin the first review of the discount rate under the new legislation within 90 days of the date of Royal Assent and will determine the new rate within 140 days of the start of the review.

Whiplash measures under the legislation are expected to provide for a "tariff of compensation" for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for claims and enable courts to increase the compensation awarded under the tariff.

The bill will also introduce a ban on seeking to settle whiplash claims without appropriate medical evidence.