What was once envisaged as a potential tool for tackling fraudulent insurance claims, by improving data sharing to identify patterns of suspected fraud, has now been pushed back as it is not feasible for the Court Services at this time.
The Establishment of such a register was included in Section 30 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 stating that;
“The Courts Service shall, on the commencement of this section, establish and maintain a register of personal injuries actions.”
The need for such a register was further reinforced in 2017 by the Cost of Insurance Working Group who recommended that the register be implemented.
That working group is responsible for identifying immediate and long term measures which can address increasing costs, while bearing in mind the need to maintain a stable insurance sector.
In 2017, the working group made 33 recommendations which included the establishment of a Personal Injuries Claim Register database.
Following a review by the Department of Justice it has been concluded that the implementation of the register would be “prohibitive at a technical level” and “wasteful of scarce resources”. The Report also raised concerns as to whether Section 30 of the Civil Liability Act 2004 would be compliant with GDPR legislation.
The Report also stated that there is no international precedent for such a project and warned that such a project “could take years to operationalise and could cost a lot of money”, with limited added value.
What may be described as “halted” could potentially have longer term effects as the Court Services are currently working on another project, the civil case management system (CCMS) and only on completion of this could the personal injuries register be considered. What is of importance in relation to the CCMS is that currently there is no deadline set for when this project is to be completed.
The insurance industry maintains its own register of personal injury claims (insurance link), however, the European Commission announced that it was opening a formal antitrust investigation in relation to that register.
For now, from a defence perspective, we must continue to rely on the Plaintiffs honesty and compliance with Sections 11-13 of the Civil Liability Act, which seek disclosure of information to include previous personal injuries actions. A Plaintiff must provide a sworn Affidavit of Verification to accompany such information. The question is, how does a defendant know if such information is correct or incorrect, without maintaining a register to check against?
Should you have any queries in relation to this article, please do not hesitate to contact Mark Kelly.
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