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Mesothelioma Compensation to be Reviewed Again After "maladroit" Consultation by Government

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The Justice Committee has condemned the Government’s review of mesothelioma claims and called on the Government to carry out the consultation again.

The consultation carried out under section 48 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) was not prepared in a thorough and even-handed manner according to the Justice Committee, and thus they have called on the Government to undertake a fresh consultation.

Furthermore the Justice Committee have commented on other matters to do with the mesothelioma claims process;

The Committee urges expedition of the primary legislation needed to bring into effect the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010. This will allow a claim to be issued against an insurer prior to a a judgment being obtained against an insolvent insured party

The Committee also asks the Ministry of Justice to work with the Department of Health to reduce delays in medical records of mesothelioma victims being produced.

Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, who was the Chair of the Committee said:

“We listened carefully to views on both sides of an emotive and polarised debate about the process of claiming compensation for this terrible disease, caused by exposure to asbestos. We have concluded that the Government’s approach has been unsatisfactory on a number of counts.The Government was not reconciled to the concession it was forced to make in Parliament during the passage of the LASPO legislation to exempt mesothelioma cases from its provisions, and determined to review the exemption as soon as it could.In its haste the Government failed to ensure that relevant information, such as a cost-benefit analysis of the changes, was available to interested parties. It also shoehorned part of its section 48 review into a wider consultation on changes to the mesothelioma claims process, most of which were not proceeded with.”

The Government’s review was into whether sections 44 and 46 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 should apply to mesothelioma compensation claims. Theses sections mean that even when claims are successful, claimants pursuing under conditional fee agreements may no longer reclaim from losing parties success fees charged by their lawyers and the cost of taking out insurance against having to pay the other side’s costs.

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