Bar Council backs Justice Committee concerns over increasing small claims limit

18 May 2018

Yesterday's report from the Justice Select Committee highlighted concerns over plans to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 which, according to the Bar Council, could undermine access to justice for those injured in accidents.

A Bar Council spokespersonsaid: "Increasing the small claims limit to £2,000 in personal injury cases, and to £5,000 in road traffic cases, may deter those who are injured from making well-founded claims, as well as restrict access to legal advice and representation for genuine claimants.

"Many who suffer such injuries are not in a position to afford legal help, often because an accident has resulted in a loss of income, yet they will be up against large and well-resourced insurance firms.

"The Justice Select Committee rightly points out that the likely impact of raising the small claims track will be a substantial increase in the number of unrepresented litigants. This will place further strain on the resources of already stretched court services.

"The Bar Council shares the Justice Committee's concern that the case for increasing the small claims limit to £5,000 in road traffic cases has not been made. There is insufficient evidence to suggest that these reforms are a proportionate response to the issue of fraudulent claims.

"A small claims limit of this size offends the principle of equal treatment under the law as it creates a different system of justice for a particular category of victim.

"An increase in the small claims limit for personal injury to £1,500 in line with inflation would be a more reasonable and proportionate measure."

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board