As mentioned in the June Newsletter, some of the most important of the Jackson Reforms to the Civil Justice System have now come into effect, notably:

1.Response times cut from 90 days down to 40.

Yes, 40. (There had been plans for 60 but 40 is now law). Defendants now have to respond with an admission or a detailed defence within 40 working days of the receipt of a public liability claim, or 30 for an employer’s liability claim.

2.You will not get all your costs back even if you win. If you successfully defend a public liability or employers liability claim you will no longer be able to recover your legal costs from the claimant except in certain unusual circumstances.

So What? These two changes mean that when you get a claim you have to decide quickly whether it is worth defending it and if so what your defence will be.

You need to know the answers to these questions:

  • Who does what: your insurers, solicitors, claims handlers, your own staff? Do you have all their contact details?
  • Who decides whether to defend or pay a claim?
  • Within your organisation, who exactly does what, and do they know what to do?
  • Are there different arrangements for different types or sizes of claim?
  • Are all your risk assessments up to date and easily accessible?
  • Are your other records up to date and easily accessible, such as inspections, training, CCTV, accident reports?

Now is the time to do this, not after you receive a claim.