On 30 January 2013, the Mesothelioma Bill received Royal Assent and is now known as the Mesothelioma Act 2014.
The Mesothelioma Act 2014 seeks to compensate mesothelioma victims who are unable to trace their employer who exposed them to asbestos dust, or their employer’s liability insurers. The Act will establish a payment scheme for victims who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma from 25 July 2012 and will offer all victims in the UK a flat rate payout set at 75% of the average compensation received by those employees who have successfully pursued their employers. The scheme will be funded by a levy on insurance companies which provide employer’s liability and it will apply to the whole of the UK.
Campaigners, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), remain concerned that the Act denies victims the right to receive the full compensation they deserve, and that the Act goes nowhere near to ensuring justice for all asbestos victims. Those suffering from other asbestos related diseases such as asbestosis and pleural thickening, who are also unable to trace their employer or their employer’s liability insurers, are excluded from the Bill and will not receive any compensation.
Following the passing of the Mesothelioma Bill, a roundtable on reforming mesothelioma claims took place. Lord McKenzie of Luton told the roundtable that when the number of claims level off, the levy “should enable 100 per cent compensation”, and that the Bill was “unfinished business” when the scheme could be extended to other types of asbestos related diseases. This indicates that there is still support for full compensation and an extension of the Scheme and it is therefore important that campaigners, including APIL, continue to fight for justice for all asbestos victims.
Furthermore, Lord Alton of Liverpool has sponsored the Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to amend the Mesothelioma Act. The Bill comprises of two clauses and calls for a levy on insurers to contribute towards research into mesothelioma. The First Reading in the House of Lords took place on 21 January 2014 and details of the Second Reading will be scheduled shortly.
A copy of the Mesothelioma Act 2014 is available at: