National Trends in Personal Injury Litigation: Before and After ‘IPP’
(2006) 14 Torts Law Journal 233
35 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2013
Date Written: May 26, 2006
In 2002 the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments reacted to a ‘crisis’ over the availability and affordability of personal injury liability insurance cover by appointing a ‘Panel of Eminent Persons’ to review the law of negligence (the IPP Review). Between 2002 and 2004 the legislatures in every Australian jurisdiction enacted significant tort law reforms, many of them recommended or inspired by the Ipp Review. This article reviews the relevant data available to governments when the decision to appoint the Ipp Review was taken and thereafter. It suggests that the data does not convincingly sustain the premise that the insurance ‘crisis’ was a ‘tort law crisis.’ The article presents and analyses data on trends in personal injury litigation (excluding motor and workplace accident claims) in Australian State and Territory courts over the past decade. The data shows that litigation rates had not, generally, been increasing in the period leading to the Ipp Review. It provides no empirical foundation for the belief that an emerging ‘litigation culture’ had contributed to the insurance ‘crisis.’ The data also shows that the reforms introduced by the State and Territory legislatures have caused a substantial decline in personal injury litigation rates in most jurisdictions. The ‘corrections’ in the three largest States, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, have been particularly dramatic. Finally, the data shows that litigation rates both before and after the reforms varied considerably among the States and Territories and that the degree of change wrought by the reforms also varies appreciably.
Keywords: tort litigation, litigation crisis, tort law reform
JEL Classification: K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation