Changes to PI ‘existential threat’

The Law Gazette has reported that dozens of firms will have to shut their personal injury departments or the whole practice if ministers push ahead with proposed reforms.

According to the report, a survey of 71 firms by claims management company First4Lawyers found 29 intend to close down if the small claims limit is increased to £5,000 for all personal injury claims. A further 17 said they would only survive if the increase was limited to RTA claims.

Qamar Anwar, managing director of First4Lawyers, said, ‘This is a moment of existential threat for many law firms. The government needs to understand that in its pursuit of a mythical £40 off motor insurance premiums, it is stripping the injured of their rights to justice and causing serious damage to thousands of hard-working professionals who are doing no more or less than upholding the law of the land.’

The survey also found fewer than half of the firms involved plan to respond to the MoJ’s consultation.

The government intends to close its consultation on the changes – part of a package of measures including a cap on whiplash damages and scrapping of pre-medical offers – on 6 January.

Meanwhile, the same media outlet reports that one of the country’s biggest personal injury firms – Thompsons Solicitors – has seen its profits tumble in the last financial year. Pre-tax profits fell from £16.2m in 2014/15 to £3.4m in the 2015/16 year ending 30 April.