News | General

Sick Of Sickness Claims

30 August 2017

Holiday sickness claims have been all over the legal press recently with Defendants claiming successes against what they see as purely fraudulent claims and Claimants also claiming successes with what they consider mostly genuine claims with a few dishonest ones in the mix.

In mid-June, ABTA launched its ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign, claiming that holiday sickness claims had increased by 500% since 2013 and calling for the government to introduce fixed costs in such cases.

The controversy surrounding these claims has been so great that, in what is possibly the fastest response time in history for a government department, on 9 July, the Ministry of Justice issued a press release announcing that ministers ‘have asked the Civil Procedure Rule Committee… to urgently look at the rules governing the costs of holiday claims. As a result of these proposed changes, fixed recoverable costs can be extended to cover claims arising abroad…’.

Whilst the MoJ seems to be bowing to pressure from insurers, it is not as straightforward as it appears. If it was as simple as just extending the rules, this would have already been done in terms of other claims, such as clinical negligence.  Lord Justice Jackson has now proposed that these claims should fall within Band 2 of the proposed fast track Fixed Recoverable Costs, although this will still be subject to consultation.

In a wider statement, the Ministry of Justice also stated that it intends to ‘look at the rules around how low value personal injury claims more generally are handled to reduce the incentives to bring claims lacking merit’, suggesting that further attempts at wider-reaching reforms may be to come.