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Lawyers Launch Bid for Judicial Review of Government Whiplash Reforms
Lawyers objecting to Government plans to change the way in which whiplash claims are dealt with have announced that they have begun proceedings to formally challenge the proposals.
An application has been submitted to the High Court in Manchester seeking a judicial review of amendments published by the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, last December.
The changes would mean claimants only being able to choose from a restricted list of medical experts rather than being able to select their own.
Mark Jones, a partner at JMW Solicitors, which is acting for the group, revealed that officials at the Ministry of Justice had already indicating that they were treating the development "seriously".
"Even though we have been in contact with Government since our concerns were first raised, we feel that those exchanges have resulted in insufficient progress.
"Given the considerable impact which these changes will have on how clients pursue whiplash claims and the prospect of further consequences for those making other types of personal injury and civil claims, we view a judicial review as a very necessary step to take.
"We are in full agreement with ministers and the insurance industry about the need to clamp down on the number of fraudulent claims.
"However, we believe that what has been proposed is not only the wrong way to go about doing so but has such potential to impede justice as to require the course of action that we've now embarked upon."
Justice Minister Lord Faulks has claimed that the whiplash reform measures, which were announced on the second of December, would ensure “any conflicts of interest are removed from the system”.
However, Mr Jones argued that the changes would impose severe restrictions more than 900,000 people who make legitimate whiplash claims each year.
In the application for a judicial review, the group of Personal Injury law firms claim that ministers failed to conduct adequate consultation before announcing the amendments, which it alleges are themselves irrational and "unfair".
Mr Jones indicated that if the High Court agreed that there were indeed grounds for a review, a full hearing on the matter could take place before the summer.
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