Pre-action Protocols


The general objectives of the pre-action protocols are to:

  • encourage the exchange of early and full information about a prospective legal claim;
  • enable the parties to avoid litigation by agreeing a settlement of the claim before commencement of proceedings;
  • support the efficient management of proceedings where litigation cannot be avoided; and 
  • to ensure the costs incurred are proportianate to the value of the claim and the issues in dispute.

Failure to comply may lead to sanctions later on, such as costs penalties. 

Protocols relevant to personal injury claims 

  • the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims ( the Personal Injury Protocol)
  • the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents ( the RTA Protocol)
  • the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value (Employers' Liability and Public Liability) Claims (the EL/PL Protocol). 

Information required in a personal injruy claim

  • the circumstances of the accident including the date, time, location, who was involved and any witnesses.
  • whether the police were called and whether criminal proceedings were brought against either party.
  • what injuries were suffered and how these were treated, together with details of any continuing effects or treatment.
  • what financial losses the client suffered including loss of earning, costs of repairing the car, medical expenses etc.
  • details of any social benefits claimed.

The Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents (the RTA Protocol)

The RTA Protocol seeks to achieve cost-effective and quick compensation to benefit both aprties by:

  • by setting out a clear and rigid timetable which all parties must follow to ensure the matter comes to an early conclusion. This prevents cases from drifting or grinding to a hault. It ensures that defendants, who may benefit from delays in paying out, can no longer do so.
  • fixed costs are a feature of the scheme. This limits the costs which lawyers may charge for each step in the proceedings, and also avoids disputes about those costs.
  • The whole process is conductd by the claimant and the defendant representatives through a purpose-made electronic portal, which is financed by the insurance industry. 

RTA claims apply when the value is £25,000 or below. 

Stages 1 and 2 are pre-litigation with the court only becoming involved at Stage 3 should the parties fail to reach agreement.

Stage 1 provides for early notification of a claim to the defendant an his insurer. Information is exchanged electronically.

  • Claimants lawyers must carry out a search on the Claims and Underwritings Exchange Personal Injury  database, which records incidents reported by policy holders to their insurance companies. This requirement is designed to reduce the risk of fraud. 
  • To notify the defendant insurer of the claim the claimant's representative completes the Claim Notification Form (CNF) (form RTA1). This provides full information on the circumstances of the accident and any damages claimed for the vehicle and injuries suffered. 
  • RTA 1 is sent electronically to the defendant insurer and by first class post to the defendant.
  • The insurer must send an electronic acknowledgment the next business


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