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Latest news from MoJ and Portal Company

The MoJ wants to make us better informed on portal developments as we move towards late July when the RTA portal will be extended, and the EL and PL portal introduced. They were right to see that time is running out.

Claims Portal

It seems that before leaving their desks for the Whitsun half term break that the MoJ wanted to make us better informed on portal developments as we move towards late July when the RTA portal will be extended, and the EL and PL portal introduced. They were right to see that time is running out.

Only yesterday afternoon, the MoJ put the latest drafts of the protocols for low value RTA and for EL/PL claims up on their website, as well as the relevant forms to be used in the process, including the Claims Notification Forms (CNFs). These are the first official sightings of those new CNFs for EL, PL and EL disease. The MoJ say the protocols and forms are there for all to preview, but are "still subject to final approval by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and might be subject to minor change".

We have checked out the latest drafts of the protocols and compared them to the previous drafts. There are very few changes. The main change is the insertion into both of the fact that the new protocols will apply to accidents occurring (or in EL disease cases to letters of claim sent) "on or after 31 July 2013". Slightly illogical that, as it might make more sense for the change to impact on new accidents from immediately after midnight on the night of 31 July/1 August, rather than for the change to strike 24 hours earlier. But this was the way that the portal costs changes were introduced at the end of April into the existing RTA portal, i.e. for claims lodged into that portal "on or after 30 April". So those claimant lawyers who were working hard to lodge claims throughout 30 April were it seems 24 hours too late to get the higher fees and were probably wasting their time.

There is though a new note introduced into the EL/PL portal under paragraph 6.15 which deals with the fact that as with the RTA version, where a claim exits the portal process, it will drop into the relevant existing pre action protocol (PAP), in a way that the CNF can stand as the letter of claim for the purposes of the PAP, except where the reason for the claim dropping out was the lack of compulsory information within the CNF. The PAP for personal injury claims has already been amended to cover this point, and it is now clear that to cover the position of EL disease claims dropping out, the PAP for disease and illness claims will be amended in the future in the same way by the introduction of new paragraph 6.10A saying just that.

The new CNFs for EL, PL and EL disease contain no surprises, and follow as far as appropriate the old RTA1 form. Handlers of these new types of claim entering the portal for the first time will though want to check them out through the link above. Note that most of the questions on the CNF remain compulsory, only few are marked as optional.

In the same area, things had already been moving ahead at the Portal Company as well this month and have a new improved website which went live last week. 

You can now register with the portal for EL/PL claims, or for RTA as well as EL/PL claims, or existing registrations for RTA claims can be expanded to include EL/PL claims. Well worth doing. When doing so you will need to sign up to the General Conditions of Use for Portal Users. Watch out that these are being updated, and only the old version is currently available on the website, and will be sent to you if you register now, but the new conditions will we understand be available shortly.

We're told by the Portal Company that further changes to the website should be expected at the end of this month. These improvements are likely to be that the promised walkthrough training to which there's a link on the website will become operational, and that should prove worthwhile. Also at around the same time, you should be able to set up training accounts within the EL/PL portal as have been available with the RTA portal for quite some time now, so that once registered to the EL/PL portal, use of the training facility in the EL/PL part of the expanded portal should be useful in taking forward preparations for the autumn.

Remember of course that its only new accidents happening (or EL disease letters of claim sent) on or after 31 July that will fall into the new expanded portal, so handlers of those claims should expect some further time beyond the end of July before experience of the first claims should be expected.

Claims portal website

For further information contact Simon Denyer, Partner on 0161 604 1551 or email simon.denyer@dwf.co.uk

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.