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Justice Committee Criticises Government’s Mesothelioma Plans

Lawyers Welcome Report And Say “Committee Has Listened To Asbestos Victims’ Views”


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Specialist asbestos disease litigation lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say a Justice Committee Inquiry has listened to asbestos victims as a report is published recommending further consultation before any changes are made to the mesothelioma claims process.

The Government had intended to remove an exemption from measures in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), which means that a proportion of legal costs incurred by mesothelioma sufferers would have come out of the damages they have been awarded.

This was intended to be introduced in July this year but these plans appear to have been shelved following the Justice Committee’s Inquiry which heard evidence from both defendant and claimant lawyers, as well as the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum and unions.

The Committee’s report published today (01/08/2014) includes criticism of an agreement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers which helped form its views on the mesothelioma compensation process and which was not shared with other parties involved in claims or victims support groups.

The Committee also concluded that more consultation is needed by government before the LASPO exemption is removed and that any consultation should not happen before LASPO changes to other areas of law have been assessed.

The report also urges the Ministry of Justice to work with the Department of Health to reduce delays in the production of medical records of mesothelioma victims and implement legislation so that claims can be issued more easily against insurers of insolvent companies.

Expert Opinion
The Justice Committee has listened to the victims of mesothelioma and has made it very clear that the Government must change its approach to how it has previously viewed these claims. The Committee has criticised the process of review by the Government and its close links with the Association of British Insurers.

"We are pleased to see that the Inquiry has recognised that further consultation is needed before any changes are made to mesothelioma claims – and recognised that any consultation should only take place after sufficient time has elapsed for the LASPO changes in non-mesothelioma cases to be assessed."
Adrian Budgen, Partner

Mr Budgen said the proposals were asking victims of mesothelioma and their families to spend time worrying about costs and funding when they should be spending valuable time with loved ones having just been given their devastating diagnosis.

Expert Opinion
Every person diagnosed with mesothelioma has already paid the ultimate price, most often as a result of the negligence of their employer. So, to see them potentially face losing a significant part of the vital funds they and their family receive to cover care and support costs is just unthinkable and many victims would be put off making a claim thus denying them access to justice.

"We believe, and the Justice Committee has agreed, that if the Government wants to introduce a system which operates in the best interests of victims of mesothelioma, they need to ensure that they ask for and listen to the views of victims in future."
Adrian Budgen, Partner

Our expert mesothelioma lawyers will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.