The implementation of the Litigants in Person (LiP) portal has been delayed for the fourth time – with the service originally due to be launched in April 2020 now being pushed back to May 2021.
What has changed
A written statement published today by Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, said the delay was a ‘sensible and pragmatic approach’ considering the continued challenges arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Delivering these reforms remains a key government priority and we will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that all are sufficiently prepared for the new measures upon implementation.”
The LiP portal forms part of the Civil Liability Act, which gained Royal Assent in December 2018.
It plans to enable claimants to process their own personal injury claims online, up to a revised £5,000 limit, without the aid of a solicitor; this is an increase on the previous £1,000 small claim limit.
Buckland said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic was the main culprit for the continued delays, the LiP portal was pushed back to August last year during the early stages of the pandemic.
“We understand the importance of industry preparedness and, after consideration, it is for that reason we have decided to allow an additional short period of time to further accommodate this.”
These challenges aside, Buckland added that the “MoJ continues to work with the Civil Procedure Rules Committee to finalise the supporting rules and pre-action protocol” and “the Motor Insurers’ Bureau continues to make excellent progress on the build of the Official Injury Claim Service.”
Shirley Woolham, Minster Law chief executive, said she was not surprised that ministers have chosen to further delay the LiP portal given the breadth and depth of implementation challenges that still remain.
“It is important that the portal improves on the current system for dealing with minor injury claims, so it is welcome that there will be more time to create a good customer experience.”
Details of the LiP portal have so far been kept under wraps and she said the “industry urgently needs clarification of the rules that will govern the portal and clear guidance from MIB that will allow firms such as Minster to advance and complete integration.”
“Minster Law is reform ready, and we have already launched Ink, our own digital claims journey, which will be able to plug into the official portal as and when it appears.
“We have also begun piloting an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) solution with partners, and we would be delighted to share our learnings with the MoJ, as the continuing absence of ADR on the official LiP portal is a key stumbling block to getting the portal airborne.”
She said her message to the claims industry was not to wait for the government.
“Customers are already becoming much more comfortable with a digital claims journey, albeit one with a human touch where necessary.
“Advances in technology are changing the way the industry deals with injury claims, and the solutions are already available.”
“We are already leading the way in how to meet customers’ claims requirements.
“We are not waiting for the government to catch up and we urge the industry to follow suit and grasp the opportunity now.”