Limited Compensation for Road Traffic Accidents!

The planned reforms set to come in by April 2019 will introduce a tariff system for damages in relation to soft tissue injuries, and will increase the small claims limit for road traffic accident related claims from £1,000.00 to £5,000.00. The question that is raised is whether the reform is a positive change that is needed for road traffic accident claims or whether the reform will do more harm than good, to people who suffer road traffic accidents.

The problems with the reform

The reform will mean that people who suffer soft tissue damages and minor physiological damages will struggle to get the compensation they deserve, or they may not be compensated at all. The tariff award has been changed to the following:

Injury Duration (months) 2015 average payment for PSLA (industry data) (£) Judicial College Guidelines (13th edition) (£) New tariff amounts (£)
0-3 1,750 Up to 2,050 225
4-6 2,150 2,050 – 3,630 450
7-9 2,600 2,050 – 3,630 765
10-12 3,100 2,050 – 3,630 1,190
13-15 3,500 3,630 – 6,600 1,820
16-18 3,950 3,630 – 6,600 2,660
19-24 4,500 3,630 – 6,600 3,725

If you have suffered soft tissue damage or have been affected psychologically following a road traffic accident through no fault of your own, you can understand the need people will have to get justice. The reform is just making it harder for people to get the compensation they deserve. As you can see from the above table, there is a major change in the amount you are able to claim dependant on the length of time you have suffered your injury.

The Ministry of Justice have also stated that the judiciary will have the power to reduce a tariff award in instances of contributory negligence and they will also be able to increase a tariff award by up to 20% in the event of exceptional circumstances. They will have discretion to determine what counts as exceptional circumstances to allow the uplift.

This reform will also have an effect on people who try to claim compensation themselves, as it has been seen that layman have found it hard to obtain medical evidence, as most medical agencies are not open for direct access to the public. People will then have no choice but have to go to solicitors no matter how small their injury is or how straightforward their matter is. Claims that will be brought forward by individuals and not solicitors are clearly unfair for individuals, as there is a grave difference in the Defendant insurer’s position and understanding of the law and the individual Claimant. Insurance companies have expert knowledge of the claim process whereas a Claimant will not as it may be their first claim for which they are seeking compensation for. Therefore, this could have an adverse affect on the Claimants, as their claim will be dominated by the insurance company and insurance companies will want to pay the lowest amount possible.

Benefits of the reforms

If we look at the benefits of the reform, would we be persuaded that this reform will be for the best? The aim is to reduce fraudulent claims, which has an affect on the premium of drivers. The reform will mean motorists will be able to save around £35 on their motor premiums. Throughout the years, the number of fraudulent claims is on a rise as courts are cracking down by giving people who make fraudulent claims sentences which could include imprisonment. There is a recent case whereby a husband and wife have been found guilty of contempt of court; a link is attached for full details of their case

Solicitors will also be banned from making, soliciting, and accepting an offer of settlement without first having obtained medical evidence in support of the injury their client has suffered. At MTG Solicitors, we have a firm policy to not accept offers being made without obtaining medical evidence and do advise our clients against it as the valuation of a personal injury claim is determined through obtaining medical evidence, which is the client’s evidence of their accident. So this is a positive step which the reform will be taking.


Now that both the positives and negatives of the reform have been highlighted, it is clear that the negative outweighs the positives, as the reform will mean that people who have suffered an injury through no fault of their own will not be able to obtain the compensation they deserve. This may also hinder people to reach out get compensation, under the belief that their injury falls under the tariff. This will also have an effect on people who try to claim compensation themselves. There should be further checks and thought put into this reform, as individuals will suffer greatly.

We can help you

Should you wish to discuss your personal injury matter in more detail, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

This blog has been prepared by Amrit Kaur Matharoo, a Trainee Solicitor at MTG Solicitors, on 16th April 2018.


Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) 2017 came in to effect last week on 3rd April 2018 with the force of a galactic scaled Easter egg filled with the Government’s hopes of solving the housing crisis. Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East, who introduced the bill, envisaged it would be “a comprehensive change to the law which will shift the emphasis firmly towards preventing homelessness from ever occurring in the first place” (, no big deal then.

With the new Act comes a vacant landscape devoid of any case law concerning the new duties for housing law practitioners to advise their clients from but also the exciting prospect of a blank slate.

The headline grabbing changes are an increase in the period of time local authorities must treat applicants as threatened with homelessness and a complimentary plethora of potential new duties that local authorities could owe applicants.

Threatened with Homelessness: Expanded Definition

Applicants will now be considered threatened with homelessness up to 56 days before they are actually made homeless as opposed to 28 days under the old law. This time period can even be longer in some cases, where a s.21 Notice has been served. This is intended to get Councils involved and to help potentially homeless applicant(s) much sooner than in the past rather than being told to return for help after a Possession Order has been issued. This is positive news and should go some way to avoiding people becoming homeless and on the street.

What are Councils going to be doing now that they have to take homeless applications from people much sooner? Well, local authorities have new duties that could be triggered in the life cycle of an application which entitle applicants to receive new forms of help and assistance. We have a new prevention duty and a relief duty as well as a number of lesser changes. I will not be going in to the lesser changes here except to say that although they are not as ground breaking as the brand new duties discussed below they will give rise to subtle new considerations that we might discuss in a future blog post.

The Prevention Duty

The Prevention Duty is where local authorities must take reasonable steps to help applicants (who it is satisfied are eligible and threatened with homelessness) to secure that accommodation does not cease to become available. This means that local authorities will now have to actively take steps to prevent applicants from losing their existing accommodation. This duty is obviously only meaningfully available to those who have not already lost their accommodation and the duty comes to end if the applicant is able to stay in their existing accommodation.

The duty can also come to an end if the applicant rejects an offer of suitable accommodation or in a number of other prescribed ways so applicants should stay wary of rejecting offers and seek legal advice if they are inclined to reject any offer of accommodation.

The Relief Duty

The Relief Duty applies to those applicants who are eligible and already homeless unless the applicant is referred to another authority. The Relief Duty requires local authorities to take reasonable steps to help applicants to secure suitable accommodation becomes available for their occupation for at least 6 months. This duty lasts for 56 days from the local authority being approached and can also be brought to an end in a variety of ways.

We will be keeping a close eye on how these new duties are applied and develop. As always, we will endeavour to ensure that our client’s needs are being met and local authorities are held to account if they fall short of fulfilling their duties.

This blog has been prepared by Sayim Rezvi, a Paralegal at MTG Solicitors, on 9th April 2018.


Buying your first home?

Being a first-time buyer can be a daunting experience as there are many steps involved in putting your name on your own property for the first time, from searching for your dream home to arranging your mortgage and finally instructing the conveyancers to complete your transaction for you.

The aim of this blog is to give you an overview of the final steps to securing your property once the search is over.

Draft Contract

Once you have chosen your solicitors, they will request a draft contract pack from the sellers’ solicitors. The draft papers will include a contract for sale, but will also include title documents and property information forms which will give the conveyancer and you information about the property. This can include matters such as who maintains each boundary for the properties, whether the sellers are aware of any disputes relating to the property and whether the sellers or previous owners have carried out works to the property which would require building regulations certificates and/or consent from the council.

Enquiries and Searches

Once the draft papers are received and the conveyancer has reviewed these then they will begin to carry out a title investigation by raising enquiries. For example, they will need to establish that there are sufficient access rights to the property, whether there are any restrictions on use for the property, if building works have been carried out then they will request copies of the planning permissions and the building regulations documents to check that the works have been carried out in accordance with the local authority requirements. The investigations are carried out to protect you as the new owner of the property from problems in the future. Although at this stage, you may not be thinking about remortgaging or selling the property, the information and documents collected when the property is being purchased will be valuable to you when you come to remortgage or sell the property.

The conveyancer will also obtain searches for the property. The searches usually include a local authority search, an environmental search and a drainage and water search. The searches will provide key information about the property and the local area. For example, the local authority search will reveal information about whether there are restrictions on development to the property, whether any trees on the property are protected by a tree preservation order and proposals for new transport links in the local area. The environmental search will confirm whether the land on which the property has been built is contaminated and what level of risk the property is at from natural ground subsidence or flooding. The drainage and water search will provide information on who supplies water and sewerage services to the property and will also highlight to you whether there are any pipes running through the property.

It is important during this stage of the transaction to maintain strong communication with your solicitor, and in particular communicate any intentions you have for the property such as an extension or other building works, as this will enable your conveyancer to pick out information specifically relevant to your plans.


Exchange is the point at which you can breathe a sigh of relief – this is when a deposit is paid, usually 10% of the purchase price and the transaction becomes legally binding and the moving date is set. Once contracts are exchanged, it is safe to start making moving arrangements in readiness for the long-awaited completion day!


Completion is the day when the completion funds are sent to the sellers’ solicitors, the keys are handed over to you and you become the proud owner of your new home! Once the transaction has completed your conveyancer will deal with paying stamp duty on your behalf and registering the property into your name, as well as notifying the landlord/managing agents of change of ownership where the property is leasehold.

This blog has been prepared by Madhvi Machchhar, a Paralegal at MTG Solicitors on 5th April 2018.