Posted by Helen Childs, Partner
Government’s plans for mesothelioma claims unlawful
Asbestos support groups have succeeded in a legal challenge of the Government’s plans which would have lead to terminally ill mesothelioma sufferers and their bereaved families losing up to 25% of their compensation.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive asbestos related cancer. It can develop many decades after exposure to asbestos occurred. More than 2,500 people die from mesothelioma every year in the UK, and the number of those affected is still rising.
In 2013, the Government exempted mesothelioma sufferers from legislation to force them to contribute towards their legal fees, until a full review of the implications of the legislation had been undertaken. The response to the contribution process was overwhelmingly opposed to any change in the law for mesothelioma sufferers. However, the Government decided to press on with the reforms in any event. That decision has just been declared unlawful, and the review process has been branded as inadequate.
This comes just weeks after the justice select committee criticised the Government’s approach to compensation reforms for mesothelioma sufferers, and urged the coalition to think again. The justice committee was surprised to see a document described as “Mesothelioma Heads of Agreement” between the Government and the insurance industry dating back to July 2012, before the consultation process had even started.
Amy Slaughter, shadow justice minister, described the courts decision that the consultation process was inadequate as a “new low” for the Ministry of Justice, saying they had “broken their promise [to review the way mesothelioma claims are funded] as part of a squalid deal with the insurance industry”
None of the legal wrangling or political comments will provide much in the way of comfort to those suffering from mesothelioma or mourning the loss of loved ones. However, at least they do not also have to worry over legal fees for claims for compensation.
Anyone affected by mesothelioma should seek expert legal advice.
Royds Withy King has a dedicated specialist team of lawyers who are committed to recovering maximum compensation for industrial disease claims. If you or a family member has an asbestos related illness, or have been diagnosed with an industrial disease as a result of work, you may be able to bring a claim.
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