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Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2021 & 129th Practice Direction Update

|Practice Direction|News

Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2021 enters into force on 31 May 2021

The Statutory Instrument is published via the Legislation website (external link, opens in a new tab).

The on-line rules/website will also be updated accordingly.

This SI contains rule changes in respect of:

The small claims track limit– rule 26.6 is amended to increase the small claims track (SCT) limit for personal injury claims arising from a road traffic accident (RTA) to £5,000. The new limit will apply to claims where the accident occurs on or after 31 May 2021. This limit applies to the figure for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for the injury alone. The overall SCT limit for the value of all parts of the claim remains at £10,000. For RTAs before 31 May 2021 and for employer’s liability and public liability accidents and all other injury claims before and after that date, the SCT injury limit remains at £1,000.

There are other exceptions to the new £5,000 limit, these are all categories of cases excluded from the RTA Small Claims Protocol and new Official Injury Claims Service. These are:

  • the exceptions specified in new rule 26.6A, in respect of which the old SCT injury limit of £1,000 will continue to apply to claims, namely:
  • where, on the date that proceedings are started, the claimant is a child or protected party;
  • where, when the accident occurred, the claimant was a “vulnerable road user”, which means, motor cyclists and pillion/sidecar passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those using mobility scooters;
  • where, on the date that proceedings are started, the claimant is an undischarged bankrupt, or the claimant or defendant acts as a personal representative of a deceased person; and
  • where, on the date that the accident occurred, the defendant’s vehicle was registered outside the United Kingdom; and
  • children or protected parties – because these claimants are excluded from the new RTA SCT limit and the RTA Small Claims Protocol, they will not be able to source their own medical report, which under the Civil Liability Act 2018 is required to settle claims for whiplash injuries, via the online Service. New rule 26.6B provides that where the claim arises from an RTA which occurs on or after 31 May 2021, and the claim is for, or includes a claim for a whiplash injury, the normal track for that claim will be the fast track and the claim must not be allocated to the SCT.

Practice Direction 27B – rule 27.2 is amended to enable a rule or practice direction to require or permit a particular procedure to be used under Part 27 (the Small Claims Track) and to disapply or modify rules made under Part 27. New PD 27B is made under this rule. Where proceedings are started under this Practice Direction, new rule 26.5A provides that the claim shall be treated as if it has been allocated to the SCT

The RTA Small Claims Protocol – a claim for personal injuries arising from a road traffic accident on or after 31 May 2021 and which is subject to the increase in the small claims track limit, should be started under the RTA Small Claims Protocol. In certain circumstances, the Protocol may no longer apply to the claim, for example where the claim for damages for injuries is valued at more than £5,000. In those cases, new rule 45.29N provides that the fixed recoverable costs provisions in Section IIIA of Part 45 will apply to the claim as if it had been started under the RTA Protocol. However, where a successful claimant has not proceeded under, or has not complied with, the RTA Small Claims Protocol, new rule 45.29M enables the court to order a defendant to pay the claimant no more than the costs which they may recover under new Practice Direction 27B.

Medical reports in whiplash claims: rule 35.4 is amended to specify the medical evidence that may be obtained in respect of a claim for a road traffic accident related personal injury claim which consists of, or includes, a claim for a whiplash injury where the court gives its permission. In most cases that evidence must be a fixed cost medical report sourced via the MedCo Portal. This reflects requirements in respect of medical evidence to be obtained under the RTA Small Claims Protocol. Exceptions exist, however, where the claimant lives outside England and Wales, or where the claimant suffers a more serious injury as well as a whiplash injury, in which case permission may be given to use that report.

Consequential amendments: in light of the amendments to rule 26.6, rule 16.6 is amended to require a claimant to specify on their claim form whether they expect to recover, as general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, not more or more than £5,000, where the claim is for personal injuries arising from a road traffic accident which occurs on or after 31 May 2021. Rule 14.1B is amended to extend that rule to cover admissions made under the RTA Small Claims Protocol. Rule 46.14 is amended to ensure that the procedure specified in that rule, which concerns pre-issue entitlement to costs, is not used for disputes arising under the RTA Small Claims Protocol and that the procedure in Practice Direction 27B for dealing with costs disputes is used.

Forms – The following forms have been either created or modified as part of this update:

Please note that various changes to prescribed court forms are being made in consequence of these reforms and will be published in due course.

129th UPDATE – PRACTICE DIRECTION AMENDMENTS

The Master of the Rolls and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice have signed the PD Update (opens in a new tab).

The amendments made by the 129th PD Update concern:

Practice Direction 7A – How to Start Proceedings – the Claim Form: these amendments are consequential upon the increase in the small claims track limit to £5,000, subject to exceptions specified in Part 26 of the Rules, for road traffic accident (RTA) related personal injury claims where the RTA occurs on or after 31 May 2021

Practice Direction 16 – Statements of Case: the insertion of paragraph 4.3B, which specifies the medical evidence that must be included with the particulars of claim, is intended to address claims for whiplash injuries which are made outside the court procedures specified in Practice Direction 27B. The amendment to paragraph 4.3A(2), sets out the full title of the relevant Pre-Action Protocol, which currently appears in its abbreviated form only.

Practice Direction 27 – The Small Claims Track: this Practice Direction is renumbered in anticipation of new Practice Direction 27B coming into force

Practice Direction 27B – Claims Under the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims Below the Small Claims Limit in Road Traffic Accidents – Court Procedure: this Practice Direction sets out the procedure by which a dispute (or part of a dispute) not resolved through the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims Below the Small Claims Limit in Road Traffic Accidents is resolved by the court. It performs for the Small Claims Protocol, broadly the same function performed by Practice Direction 8B for the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents. Like that Practice Direction, it modifies provisions of the CPR.

Practice Direction 35 – Experts and Assessors: these amendments widen the scope of paragraph 2.6 (being part of the general requirements regarding expert evidence), which currently applies to medical evidence in soft-tissue injury claims only, to include claims which consist of, or include, a claim for a whiplash injury.

Schedule:  Practice Direction 27B – Claims Under the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims Below the Small Claims Limit in Road Traffic Accidents – Court Procedure: PD27B is set out as schedule to this update.

Pre-Action Protocols The PAPs (PDF, opens in a new tab) have been either created or modified as part of this update.

The PAP Update covers:

The new Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims Below the Small Claims Limit in Road Traffic Accidents: the RTA Small Claims Protocol, supported by the online Service, provides the framework for claimants, whether represented or not, in making and settling low value road traffic accident related personal injury claims at the pre-action stage. It is anticipated that the user should not need to routinely refer to the Protocol in order to progress the claim.  Instead, they will be guided by the online Service, which strives to improve accessibility and efficiency by simplifying the procedure while not going beyond what is permitted in the Protocol.  There will also be separate guidance for the user to assist them where necessary and claimants who are unable to use the online Service may seek assistance from a dedicated support centre.

And amendments to –

The Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents From 31st July 2013: these amendments are consequential upon the coming into force of amendments to Part 26 of the CPR regarding changes to the small claims track limit for claims for personal injuries arising from road traffic accidents where the accident occurs on or after 31 May 2021, and the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021, which sets a tariff of damages for RTA related whiplash injuries, as defined by the Civil Liability Act 2018, and for whiplash injuries and any minor psychological injuries suffered on the same occasion as a whiplash injury, and the ban on the settlement of claims for whiplash injuries without first seeing appropriate evidence of the whiplash injury.

The Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability Public Liability) Claims:  this amendment is consequential upon the coming into force of amendments to Part 26 of the CPR regarding changes to the small claims track limit for claims for personal injuries arising from road traffic accidents where the accident occurs on or after 31 May 2021.

The Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims: these amendments are consequential upon the coming into force of amendments to Part 26 of the CPR regarding changes to the small claims track limit for claims for personal injuries arising from road traffic accidents where the accident occurs on or after 31 May 2021, and the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021, which sets a tariff of damages for RTA related whiplash injuries, as defined by the Civil Liability Act 2018 and for whiplash injuries and any minor psychological injuries suffered on the same occasion as a whiplash injury, and the ban on the settlement of claims for whiplash injuries without first seeing appropriate evidence of the whiplash injury.

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