To enquire please call

0330 094 8749

Alternatively, you can complete our online form below

Close Icon
Navigating Industry Changes Throughout 2023
Navigating Industry Changes Throughout 2023

5 Dec 2023

Navigating Industry Changes Throughout 2023

At Speed Medical, customer care has always been at the front and centre of our service delivery. Recognising each customer as an individual, we listen to their needs and always put them at the heart of what we do. But when there is so much change happening out there in the industry, we completely appreciate that it can be daunting, and difficult to follow what the latest rules and regulations are.


Over the past 12 months there have been a number of implemented changes within the legal services industry, and navigating the way through updates to meet regulatory compliance is not always an easy task.

To help, we’ve compiled a selection of the key industry changes that have come into play in 2023. Let’s take a look together, and start off with…


Changes to personal injury claims in civil litigation

The personal injury claims process changed for people who suffer from low-value injuries in road traffic accidents (RTAs) originally back in May 2021, however the government temporarily paused their plans for further reform in March 2022.

It was then formally announced in February 2023 that the Justice Committee would inquire on the impact of the changes, and whether or not the reforms were suitably on track to reduce insurance premiums for motorists, while ensuring injured Claimants could still access justice.

For context these changes, which affect the amount of compensation Claimants receive, include:

  • Tariffs for whiplash injuries that last up to 2 years from RTAs, which is also currently being progressed under the Whiplash reform and the Official Injury Claim service
  • The small claims limit increasing from £1,000 to £5,000 for RTAs not involving vulnerable road-users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or horse riders
  • Claims for children will not have to go through the Official Injury Claim service, and these claims will typically be fast tracked, regardless of their value.

This means that the small claims limit increase, along with new tariffs, will lead to more cases being processed on this track. As a result, Claimants are unlikely to be able to recover their legal costs, meaning that many may be forced to use the Official Injury Claim portal and, in some cases, represent themselves in court.

However, these changes also impact solicitors directly, with more personal injury cases being treated as small claims, it means that Claimants may decide not to be represented by a solicitor at all as they will not be able to recover their costs.


Requested views on Open Justice

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been seeking views on a range of topics including open justice, access to data, and the transparency of court and tribunal services in England and Wales throughout 2023, with calls for evidence closing officially in September.

Here, it is the MoJ’s aim to measure public awareness and understanding of the open justice principle, as well as to gather any information about potential obstacles to implementing it.

The MoJ is also looking to further understand where it should focus its existing and future policy efforts in this area and how emerging technologies could be utilised to enhance and strengthen open justice also.


The fixed recoverable costs regime was extended 

As of October 1st 2023, the fixed recoverable costs (FRC) regime was extended for claims up to the value of £100,000, making this the biggest change in civil justice for 10 years and one that the MoJ have recently published draft rules for so that all stakeholders can understand the implications.

The intention of this regime change has been to drive efficiencies in how certain cases are handled, and whilst original plans were set to implement FRC in April 2023, it was announced that the MoJ had decided to postpone plans until October 2023 to allow the legal sector more time to adjust.

This is simply because FRC are complicated, covering a wide range of civil cases including certain types of personal injury, noise induced hearing loss claims, and clinical negligence claims, some of which have been met with a high level of frustration from solicitors.

However, the goal of the proposal has been ultimately to reduce the overall costs of litigation and provide more certainty and predictability for parties involved in a legal case, despite concerns that the new plans will impact firms of solicitors and of course, consumers.


A new intermediate track was launched  

Another significant change brought into effect in 2023 was the introduction of the new intermediate track where solicitors are now expected to allocate more complex cases that are not suitable for the small claims track or the existing fast track, to the new intermediate track.

With this, cases which require no more than 2 expert witnesses and can be resolved within a 3-day trial or less, will be allocated to the intermediate track, whilst more complex cases will be allocated to the multi-track.

The small claims track will is for claims with a value of up to £10,000, while the fast track is for claims with a value of up to £25,000. Claims will be assigned to the new intermediate track if they have a value between £25,000 and £100,000.

The new rules in relation to allocation and assignment will be found under Part 26 of the Civil Procedure rules and as of October 1st 2023 onwards, FRC will apply to all types of claims that fall within the parameters for the fast track or intermediate track, unless expressly excluded.

Existing fast track claims will then be assigned to 1 of 4 bands for complexity, for example, noise induced hearing loss claims, and additional costs may also be awarded in exceptional circumstances, as per the existing rules, and also where additional costs are incurred as a result of a Claimant’s vulnerability.


How Speed can assist in cases governed by FRC’s

Our services at Speed Medical will be of great value to solicitors navigating through the challenges and opportunities presented by the implementation of FRC. 

  1. Streamlined Medical Assessments: Speed Medical will efficiently coordinate all medical assessments saving fee earners valuable time searching for appropriate experts and negotiating fees.
  2. Faster Turnaround Times: We have an established network of over 5000 medical professionals, 2200 specialising in Clinical Negligence, which allows quicker turnaround times for medical reports. This expedites case progression and can assist with tighter FRC deadlines.
  3. Cost Control: Solicitors can better control and predict the costs associated with obtaining medical reports, which is crucial for adhering to FRC limits.
  4. Quality Assurance: We have streamlined processes in place to ensure the quality and reliability of reports, which is essential for building a strong case under FRC.
  5. Focus on Core Legal Work: Outsourcing medical reporting will allow fee earners to focus on their core legal work, such as client representation, case strategy, and negotiation.
  6. Cost Transparency: Speed offers a transparent billing system, to give a clearer picture on costs associated with medical evidence, making it easier to budget and plan for FRC cases.
  7. Mitigation of Risks: Our 25 years of expertise in medical reporting will aid our customers in minimising the risk of non-compliance with FRC rules and potential cost overruns.
  8. Tech Integration: We offer electronic submission of records and reports, further streamlining the process and reducing administrative overheads.
  9. Expertise in FRC Rules: Speed have received advice and training from two in house lawyers, well-versed in the specific FRC regulations and requirements, making it easier for our operations team to adhere to the necessary rules.
  10. Data and Analytics: If requested Speed can provide MI data and analytics on FRC cases, enabling informed decisions on case strategies and settlement negotiations.


The “holistic look at costs” report was published

In May 2023, the Civil Justice Council (CJC) Costs Working Group published its finalised “holistic look at costs” report, offering a insights and recommendations into the likely direction of travel for costs in civil claims on four key areas of:

  • Costs budgeting;
  • Guideline hourly rates;
  • Pre-action protocols and the digital justice system;
  • Wider consequences of extending fixed recoverable costs.

Now, the CJC Working Group has recommended a “one size does not fit all” approach, with the intention of piloting of any major changes before a wider rollout.


Discussions to update personal injury discount rates began

The entrusted administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland issued a joint request early in 2023, for views on whether any changes should be made to the range of factors to be considered when calculating the personal injury discount rate (PIDR), with views to be submitted by 11th July.

The joint call for views follows the MoJ in England & Wales at the beginning of the year launching a call for additional evidence and views on the introduction of dual or multiple rates, to which the Lord Chancellor’s PIDR expert panel held their first meeting in July.

Whilst plans are still being explored for its’ fifth year review, the panel meeting minutes do confirm that a discussion took place around the work programme for the next three months, and the group also asked to see in further, detail a summary of what the dual/multiple rates would look like.


How Speed Medical can help navigate industry change

Our mission at Speed Medical is to lead the way by driving clinical quality, improving efficiencies, and embracing the latest technologies to deliver an outstanding service.

We offer the complete package for our customers, from supporting them with a legal claim to aiding with their recovery following an accident, illness, or injury. Speed Medical offers a huge range of services, all underpinned by 25 years of experience in the medico-legal industry combined with our commitment to not only maintain but continuously improve the quality and delivery of every service provided.

If you’d like to talk to us about any of our services, please get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to talk to you.


Our Accreditations