12th September 2018
I completely understand concerns regarding plans to increase the small claims limit for employers and public liability personal injury claims, and it is important that the limit is not disproportionately increased. That said, I feel that the proposed increase to £2,000, in line with inflation since 1991 when the current limit of £1,000 was set, is appropriate and reasonable. I do not believe this will impact the access to justice of employees injured at work.
With the last increase to the small claims limit made in 1991, followed by a minor technical change to what should be included in the limit made in 1999, it has been decades since the limit was last amended. Reform of the limit is therefore long overdue, with the proposed increase scheduled to come into effect in April 2020. This is part of the wider reforms to the small claims track limit for managing whiplash injuries and minor injuries in road traffic accidents.
Following a 2016 consultation on raising the small claims limit to £5,000, I am glad that the Government listened to concerns and instead limited the rise for claims relating to workplace injuries to £2,000, in line with inflation. The personal injury small claims track limit has been set at £1,000 since 1991, and the Government has used the Retail Price Index to calculate the increase to £2,000 to ensure consistency with the way such increases are dealt with by the Judicial College Guidelines.
I am certain that these reforms will not impact upon the access to justice of employees injured at work, and claimants will continue to be able to utilise an accessible low-cost courts process.