26th October 2018

About the Civil Liability Bill – subject close to my heart. (You remember – that is the bill that says “injured person – forget about going to court and just suffer in silence”).

Below is something said by a politician quoted in the Law Society Gazette this week – a magazine for lawyers.

“Speaking for the government today, Chris Philp MP, parliamentary private secretary to Treasury ministers, said there was evidence that the system was broken. Qualified one-way costs shifting, introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, creates a ‘one-way bet that is the reason there has been such an explosion in claims’, he said”.

Qualified one-way costs shifting is usually called QOCS in the business and what it means is: if you are a personal injury compensation claimant and you bring a case against the person or organisation you say injured you then if you lose it you don’t have to pay the other side’s costs. (In lots of litigation cases if you lose you DO have to pay the other side’s costs).

Well what a to-do – bound to encourage lots of people to try it on with rubbish cases yes? Right?

WRONG.

Chris Philip talks about “…an explosion in claims…” Unfortunately for his accuracy credibility there are fantastically detailed universally accepted figures for how many claims there are and this is because insurers dealing with such claims have to register them in a central record.

So here is the deal: according to the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) – this is the central record I am on about – which is a government department the number of claims for whiplash injury fell 4 years in a row AND by a lot – in 2016 there were one third less such claims than there had been in 2010/2011. Ah you say – but they must have gone up a lot since QOCs came in – that must be what Mr Philp means. Er… like NO – QOCS didn’t come in last week but on 1st April 2013 (love that start date – shows the powers that be have a good sense of humour). 5 and a half years ago. Oh well you say – maybe the numbers of claims went up a lot in the last 2 years anyway. Nope – hasn’t happened – down down down go the numbers is the settled pattern for ages now. Don’t you think Mr Philp might KNOW about these government figures? Being as it is a government department like I said that compiles them? And being as how he is a government spokesperson? I mean – what gives? Isn’t his JOB to know about the real figures especially when he feels like making statements about the situation?

And another thing – that Act Mr Philp refers to – the Legal Aid one above. That was passed in 2012. By a Conservative party administration (in coalition with the Lib Dems). What party does Mr Philp belong to? Why the Conservative party natch. Mr Philp got elected to Parliament in 2015 and history doesn’t record whatever thoughts he might have had back in the day as a non-MP about this Act and whether or not he fancied the look of it but whatever: it was his party that brought it in. His government.

So Mr Philp not only gets basic facts well wrong he seems to think it is cool to dis his own political party. Some people you want to have on the inside of the tent spitting out not on the outside spitting in. Mr P however seems to want to be on the inside of the tent… but still spitting… (Spitting I said spitting – come on: keep it clean).


Blog by Adrian Dalton, Partner