Responding to the decision by the MoJ to delay the launch of the LiP Portal, Marcus Taylor, Minster Law claims director, said:
“We welcome the MoJ’s decision to delay the portal, but we question whether pushing it back to August will give stakeholders enough time to ensure it really works for consumers. The danger is that, in the rush to hit an arbitrary deadline, ministers create unforeseen consequences that result in consumer detriment. It is therefore even more important that those of us who support customers when they make a claim, have the opportunity to actively support the build team in the next few months.”
“We are happy to share our experiences of managing claims online with MoJ officials, the MIB and others, as we have always said that cross-industry collaboration will solve the outstanding issues that have caused the portal launch to be delayed. We strongly believe that, working together, the industry can create and implement a consumer-friendly system that is fit for the 2020s.”
“Ministers’ decision not to proceed with an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system to manage disputed liability claims will inevitably result in more consumers needing professional help, because they will be reluctant to go to court on their own, without help from a legal expert, and against legal professionals representing insurance companies. We wait with interest to see how ministers will resolve this issue, but as things stand we are not confident that a consumer-friendly portal will be ready for public use any time soon.
“The MoJ’s decision to delay the launch has largely come about because they have realised injury claims are complex, far more so than a PPI claim, for example. The MIB’s decision to deliver a ‘first iteration’ of the Portal or ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP), which is purposefully limited in scope and capability, to hit a deadline (i.e. excluding child claims and protected parties because they are more complex scenarios) is a contemporary and agile way of delivering technology projects.
“However, the pitfalls of this approach are very real and stark for those impacted, such as parties where liability is disputed, or children. As a result, the government has been forced into new policy initiatives to manage these complex cases outside the portal.
“The MVP approach can leave customers with no fall-back position, in that if the MVP doesn’t work for more complex claims (which by the definition of “minimum” is quite likely to occur) the customer will be faced with a “computer says NO” outcome and a high risk that they won’t be able to progress their claim. If the principle of direct access to justice is to be upheld, ‘minimum’ is not good enough.”
“It is also essential that the government uses the next few months to ensure that the public are made fully aware of what these reforms mean to them. At present, citizens are wholly in the dark about the portal, yet there are around 650,000 road traffic accidents a year which result in an injury claims, and most of those claims will be subject to a completely different regime.”