On 24th July 2013, the Ministry of Justice launched a consultation named “Reforming Mesothelioma Claims”. The consultation discussed a package of reforms to the procedures governing mesothelioma claims in England and Wales. These reforms are separate to the Mesothelioma Bill 2013 as they relate to mesothelioma claims where the employer or the employer’s liability insurers are traceable.
Following the consultation, the Government has announced that it has rejected the insurance industry’s proposals to change the way mesothelioma claims are conducted. In a written ministerial statement on 4th December 2013, Justice Minister Shailesh Vara announced that the Government will not go ahead with a new mesothelioma Pre-Action Protocol or fixed fees which were recommended by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). This decision has been welcomed by campaigners who argued that the proposals would not help to settle mesothelioma claims quickly.
However, the Government has also announced that mesothelioma victims will not be protected from the recoverability elements in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 these being any after the event insurance premium and success fees. The effect will be that mesothelioma claims will be brought in line with the changes already introduced to all other personal injury cases, including other asbestos related disease claims. An implementation date has not yet been announced however it is proposed that the LASPO provisions will apply from July 2014.
To read the ministerial statement in full visit http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/December%202013/3%20December/4th-December-2013/9.JUSTICE-Mesothlioma-claims.pdf