It has been reported by the MOJ that the average time between a small claim being issued and going to trial has reached the highest level this century over the past year.
This news must come as yet another blow to Claimants especially in light of the fact the system will be facing a major reform from next April, seeing hundreds and thousands of road traffic accident claim worth £5,000.00 or less being moved to the small claims track.
The latest civil justice statistics from the MOJ show that it took an average of 36.6 weeks for 11,158 small claims to reach trial in the second quarter of 2019, marginally less than in the first quarter but 2.7 weeks longer than in the same period in 2018.
The average time has been going up since the last quarter of 2016 to levels that have not been recorded this century. The lowest annual figure was 26.3 weeks in 2003.
For multi/fast track claims, it took on average 59.1 weeks to reach a trial, three weeks longer than the same period last year and at the upper limit of the long-term range of 52-59 weeks.
The MoJ blamed a "sustained period of increasing receipts” for increasing the time taken to hear civil cases and causing delays to progressing cases.
The Civil Liability Act reforms, due to come into force next April are intended to bring the perceived ‘claims culture’ surrounding whiplash claims under control.
However, increasing the amount of claims into a system which appears to be already struggling to meet demands will undoubtedly lead to more unfairness for the unrepresented individual.
Put long running cases into the mix of inequality between self-represented claimants and solicitor represented insurers. Surely a crisis in the making….
At the very least a false economy as any costs savings to the insurers will be passed as a burden onto the Court system, funded by the tax system.
Interestingly this all comes at a time when the statistics also showed that the number of personal injury claims being litigated continues to fall, down 11% to 28,000 in the second quarter. This is the lowest figure since the last quarter of 2011.