Finish the groundwork first says APIL president

Karl Tonks, the president of APIL, has criticised the government for ploughing ahead with reforms to the personal injury compensation system before completing the groundwork properly.

He made his comments in response to a consultation of proposals to extend the current streamlined process to cover low value RTAs. Tonks said the rushning through the reforms could mean that injured people cannot access the justice they deserve.

In particular APIL is concerned that the government is not allowing enough time to buy, build and test the computer systems necessary for this scheme. Furthermore, not enough time has been allowed for protocols and rules to be drafted and the government repeatedly refuses to publish the results of independent research into the success of the existing scheme.

Tonks went on to say that it takes about 18 months to agree on a process and design an IT system that fits in with it. It is unrealistic to implement changes next April and by doing so the government will be undermining the system of justice for thousands of people.

He says there is no valid evidence that costs are too high and the government is only reviewing them because of insurance companies who will benefit if they are reduced. Costs were cut a couple of years ago, but that had no affect on the premiums paid by ordinary people.

The government needs to listen to everybody concerned and not just the insurance sector. The needs of genuine injury victims should be taken into consideration before any drastic measures are taken to change the system, he added.

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