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Government ‘Must Listen To Charities And Asbestos Victims On Mesothelioma Reforms’

Charities Hold Meeting With Justice Minister To Discuss Consultation


By Rob Dixon

Legal experts who represent victims and the families of those who have died as a result of asbestos-related disease are urging the Government to ensure the voice of sufferers is heard, over concerns regarding planned reforms to the handling of mesothelioma claims.

Organisations including Macmillan Cancer Support, the British Lung Foundation, the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum and Mesothelioma UK are meeting with Justice Minister Helen Grant today (September 23rd) to discuss the consultation recommending the lifting of the exemption of mesothelioma sufferers from legal costs.

The charities say that the options for reform were compiled by the Association of British Insurers, with the third sector bodies’ request for one claimant option to be included being refused.

National law firm Irwin Mitchell has vast amount sof experience in helping victims and the families of mesothelioma sufferers to gain justice over asbestos exposure and has acted in a number of landmark cases on the issue.

The firm’s asbestos lawyers have welcomed the charities’ call to action, which was published in The Times today and urged the Government to ensure that victims come first in any decision made on the issue.

Adrian Budgen, national head of asbestos litigation at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The charities’ view that they have not been listened to is very concerning and we feel the failure to properly consult with victims means these changes will ultimately work against the interests of mesothelioma sufferers.

“The only way that ministers can properly come to terms with this issue is to listen to victims’ support groups, which have so much experience of both current systems and the devastating issues that both sufferers and their families face on a day-to-day basis.

“We feel these changes will only lead to drastic reductions in their access to justice and they do not deserve a system which works against them and in the interests of their employer – the very company that exposed them to deadly asbestos dust decades previously.”

Adrian added: “It is often forgotten that asbestos cases can be among the most complex and heavily contested claims in the personal injury arena. Despite this, the Government has listened to arguments that a streamlined legal process is suitable for handling them.

“We simply do not see how victims will gain from this and, worse, we think they will actually be to the detriment of victims – all of whom will sadly die from contracting this dreadful disease. That just simply cannot be right.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Asbestos Compensation