Press reports that the Ministry of Justice is set to dial back on its reforms to personal injury claims are helping to lift the AIM-quoted owner of the National Accident Helpline, NAHL (NAH:AIM), 19.1% to 162p.

The company, which specialises in marketing for the legal sector with a particular bias to personal injury cases, has seen big falls in its share price after the changes were first trailed in November 2015 and then again when the proposals were put out for consultation a year later.

The changes are aimed at restricting victims' ability to claim compensation for minor whiplash injuries.

Law firms operating in this area may also face tougher rules on reclaiming legal expenses after a proposal to run more cases through the small claims court.

PLANS WATERED DOWN

The plan had been for personal injury claims of up to £5,000 to be heard in the small claims court, up from an earlier threshold of £1,000. The reported change will see an increase to the threshold for road traffic accidents only with a £2,000 threshold operating elsewhere.

Small claims court judges typically do not award legal expenses to the losing party.

NAHL does not fund no-win no-fee claims itself but concentrates on marketing to generate leads for the law firms it counts as clients. It does this principally through the ‘Underdog’ character which fronts the core National Accident Helpline brand.

Since last year the company has been working to mitigate the impact of any changes. It has said this may include changing commercial structures so payments are deferred and/or NAHL takes on more of the risk but also more of the return associated with a claim.

An update on this plan is due alongside full year results on 21 March when the company will also give a fuller response to today’s reports.


Issue Date: 23 Feb 2017