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CPAP: Levelling the Playing Field?

The ‘Compulsory Pre-Action Protocols’ is a systematic, step-by-step approach to resolving personal injury actions without the need for extensive litigation. The Protocols allow for the little man to, for example, pursue compensation for a workplace accident against his negligent employer, who might otherwise subject him to a daunting, lengthy – and costly – legal process.

At present, CPAP only applies for Pursuers seeking compensation for accidents occurring on or after 28th November 2016 . A voluntary measure, the Voluntary Pre-Action Protocol, or VPAP, has been in place for personal injury actions since 2006. However ‘voluntary’ was the operative word; there has been a lack of sanctions for failure to comply with any stage of the protocols, and parties could not be compelled to participate. In other words, while the VPAP was a strong gesture toward fair dispute resolution, powerful Defenders were not legally obliged to participate, nor to adopt the spirit of the protocols.

CPAP, brings the hammer of justice on parties who fail to comply with the protocols. For example, in cases in which a party fails to comply with any stage of the protocol, the court can make an award of expenses in favour of the other party, or sist (indefinitely pause) the action to ensure that the breaching party complies.

The new compulsory status of the protocols is a logical progression from VPAP and should bring about greater access to justice for smaller parties. However, with a compensation ceiling of £25,000 and excluding claims for clinical negligence, professional negligence and disease claims, the current CPAP is certainly restricted in scope. With that said, the bulk of personal injury claims result from road traffic accidents (circa 50%) and other accidents occurring in public cases (circa 21%), and are covered by the new measures. The CPAP therefore provides greater transparency and greater access to justice to parties in the majority of personal injury actions.

If you would like to discuss making a personal injury claim of any kind, please feel free to contact McCarthy Law on 0141 337 6678, or via e-mail: