23 April, 2020
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland has confirmed that the implementation of the whiplash reform programme will be pushed back until April 2021.
In a written Ministerial Statement Robert Buckland announced that the government remains "firmly committed" to implementing the measures to control the number and cost of whiplash claims, however "it is apparent that the current Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the medical, legal and insurance sectors. While the whiplash reform measures remain important, the Government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can". The decision to postpone the reforms will allow the government to focus on delivering key services in the justice area during this unprecedented time.
The announcement comes as no real surprise. It was evident when the last announcement to delay the reform programme was published at the end of February that there was still a lot of work to be done to enable the reform programmed to be implemented. It is unclear how the pandemic will pan out and further delays maybe likely. Few can argue with Robert Buckland's comment that "now is not the time to press ahead with significant transformational change to the personal injury sector".
We will be issuing further updates as and when further information becomes available.