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Mesothelioma Bill Moves to Lords

Mesothelioma bill passed through the Commons


A Bill offering faster compensation for people suffering from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease, has passed through the House of Commons.

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill will allow adults afflicted by mesothelioma to receive swifter settlements. It was given an unopposed third reading, and now goes to the Lords.

But Labour Barnsley West and Penistone MP Michael Clapham said people suffering from another lung disease, pleural plaques, should also be entitled to compensation.

He made the comments after a Lords ruling in October prevented workers suing their employers over the condition, which is also linked to asbestos exposure.

However, junior work and pensions minister James Plaskitt said the Law Lords considered the issue thoroughly before concluding that pleural plaques did not constitute "actionable or compensatable damage".

Before the ruling, those suffering from pleural plaques had been entitled to make a claim for compensation, but hundreds of cases have now been defeated, potentially saving the insurance industry million of pounds.

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Adrian Budgen, partner and specialist mesothelioma solicitor at Irwin Mitchell commented:

"The Scottish Executive agreed, last week, to introduce a Bill which will reverse the House of Lords' ruling and enable those negligently exposed to asbestos, who have been diagnosed with pleural plaques and asymptomatic pleural thickening, to continue to be able to raise and pursue actions for damages in Scotland.
"It is now hoped that this development, along with ongoing work from English parliamentarians (like Michael Clapham MP), will persuade the Government in Westminster that steps need to be taken to ensure that people with pleural plaques receive proper redress. Over 60 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion, calling for a change in the law, and it is hoped that an adjournment debate on the issue can be arranged early in the New Year."

If you or someone you know has been affected by mesothelioma, we can help. Fill in our online claims form for free compensation advice.