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Civil Justice Consultation (Government Response)

Volume 540: debated on Thursday 9 February 2012

I am today announcing the publication of the Government’s response to the civil justice consultation on “Solving disputes in the county courts”, which included proposals to modernise the civil justice system and make it simpler, quicker, cheaper and more effective.

The consultation was launched by the Ministry of Justice on 29 March 2011 and closed on 30 June 2011.

Based on the broad support many of the Government’s proposals received, we plan to increase the small claims limit to £10,000 initially, with a possible further increase to £15,000 in the future after evaluation. We do not recommend an increase to the fast-track limit at this time.

All small claims will be referred automatically to mediation, on the basis that this is not compulsory mediation, but rather a requirement to engage with a small claims mediator. Mandatory information sessions for higher-value claims will not be introduced.

After liaising further with stakeholders we will be extending to £25,000 the existing RTA PI scheme to provide a speedier, more transparent system for dealing with low-value personal injury claims arising out of accidents. This will assist in deterring spurious claims, while ensuring compensation is available more quickly where it is merited.

The Government will proceed with streamlining procedures and commencement of certain provisions of part 4 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which have already been approved by Parliament.

A single county court for England and Wales will be established and provisions introduced to enable cases and judges to be allocated more efficiently and effectively. Specialist claims will be placed under the exclusive jurisdiction of the High Court.

The document is available online at: http://www.justice.