Forum Judicial Review challenges S48 LASPO Act Review. To see a précis of the Forum's arguments please click here...
Asbestos Victims Condemn the S 48 LASPO Review
To see the Forum S48 briefing for MPs please click here...
25 March 2014
Forum challenges Government response to consultation Reforming mesothelioma claims
The Government response to the consultation Reforming mesothelioma claims, 6 March 2014,confirmed the ministerial announcement, 4 December 2012, that it intended to bring into force the requirement to pay legal costs in mesothelioma claims. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK which has applied for a judicial review of this decision sent amended arguments (grounds) to the government on 25 March rebutting the Government's response to the consultation justifying removal of the mesothelioma exception.
To read the Government response to the consultation please click here...
To read a précis of the Forum grounds challenging the decision please click here...
To read the Forum amended grounds challenging the decision please click here...
The Mesothelioma Bill was given royal assent on the 30 January 2014
The Mesothelioma Bill is now an Act of Parliament: The Mesothelioma Act 2014. Asbestos victims support groups welcome the new Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme which will come into operation in July 2014, but will continue to campaign for improvements to the payment scheme and for payments to sufferers of asbestos diseases other than mesothelioma.
21 January 2014
Lord Alton introduces the Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill for mesothelioma research
Lord Alton has introduced a Private Members's Bill in the House of Lords to amend the Mesothelioma Bill to provide for the levy on insurers to include a research supplement.
To see the Bill please click here
19 December 2013
Forum Judicial Review challenging S 48 Review
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum has challenged the legality of the review of the mesothelioma exemption from legal costs by way of Judicial Review.
To see the Judicial Review letter to Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor, click here
Government abandons controversial reforms in its consultation 'Reforming mesothelioma claims' but intends to remove the 'Mesothelioma Exemption'.
The Government announced in a ministerial statement on the 4 December that it has abandoned the controversial reforms to the mesothelioma claims process: a mesothelioma pre-action protocol and fixed costs. The Government will consider other improvements to the claims process involving stakeholders. Asbestos victims support groups have welcomed this sensible decision to abandon the consultation reforms which were written by the Association of British Insurers in their interests and contrary to the interests of asbestos victims
But, asbestos victims and their supporters condemn the Government's decision to cite the Mesothelioma Bill as one of the grounds for imposing legal costs on mesothelioma sufferers in the consultation/review required under Section 48 LASPO Act 2012. The Government's subsequent ministerial statement compounds the irrationality of the decision to cite the Mesothelioma Bill in the review.
3 December 2013
Publication of Second Reading debate on the Mesothelioma Bill
2nd December House of Commons first debate on the Mesothelioma Bill
On Monday 2nd December MPs will participate in the Second Reading of the Mesothelioma Bill. This is the first opportunity for MPs to discuss the Bill and to express their views on how the Bill might be improved. Hundreds of mesothelioma victims have contacted their MPs to call for changes to the Bill.
To see the Forum press release for Monday 2nd December please click here...
11 November 2013
Mesothelioma Bill Briefing and Pamphlet for MPs
2 October 2013
The last opportunity to submit responses to the Ministry of Justice consultation Reforming Mesothelioma Claims expires on 2 October. The Forum has sent their response with a headline statement:
The consultation betrays a fundamental misconception of the claims process. Preparing evidence for, and sending a letter of claim, initiates a legal process to sue for damages under the tort of negligence. Issuing proceedings is simply a continuum of the claims process.
The distinction between pre-action and issue of proceedings is misleading, as is the suggestion that there is no issue of liability at the onset of the claims process, or that claims are uncontested at the outset. The fact that ultimately there is no defence in many cases, is misleadingly interpreted as ‘liability is not an issue and cases are uncontested.’ and such cases are therefore candidates for a PAP.
This canard lies at the heart of the consultation. The truth is that claims are made in accordance with pre-action procedure, whatever the name of that procedure, and are invariably contested and early liability resisted prior to court proceedings.
The ABI proposals in this consultation paper have nothing to do with speeding up claims. Early liability could be admitted under the existing pre-action process – it is not. The intention is to take control of the claims process by: falsely describing claims as inappropriate for court action and imposing sanctions for doing so; demanding more information to position the defendant to resist claims, and; imposing fixed costs to limit the opportunity for claimants to have fair and expert representation.
Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum
To see the full Forum consultation response click here
To see Minister's response to report of the charities meeting 23 Sept click here
23 September 2013
Times article about charities meeting 23 September with Minister Helen Grant on the consultation Reforming Mesothelioma Claims
To see the article click here
Charities attending the meeting included: Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum; British Lung Foundation; Macmillan; June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund; Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund; Mesothelioma UK.
The Minister Helen Grant assured all of the charities that she “would not do anything that would not be welcomed by mesothelioma victims and their families”.
20 September 2013
Forum press release in advance of meeting the Minister, Helen Grant on Monday 23 September about the Ministry of Justice consultation: Reforming Mesothelioma Claims
To see the press release click here
25 July 2013
The Asbestos Victims support Groups Forum UK formally complains to the MoJ about the consultation because of bias in favour of the ABI agenda which exclusively informed the consultation paper.
To see the Forum complaint please click here
17 July 2013
Peers reject amendments to provide for 100% compensation in the Mesothelioma Bill and to back date payment to February 2010
Despite powerful arguments in favour of full compensation backdated to February 2010 a majority of members of the House of Lords voted down amendments to achieve vital improvements to the Mesothelioma Bill. However, the level of payment was marginally increased from 70% to 75%. The Bill will got to the Commons in the Autumn.
An amendment to provide for an insurers’ funded levy for mesothelioma research was defeated by a small majority.
To read the debate at Report stage click here
11 June 2013
Members of the House of Lords completed two days detailed debate on the Mesothelioma Bill in Grand Committee
To read the debate on the 5 June click here
To read the debate held on the 10 June click here
Mesothelioma sufferers and their families appeal to Lord Freud to change the Mesothelioma Bill
To see some of the messages from our on line petition click here
To see Sheree Hampshire’s appeal to Lord Freud regarding her late father Charles Hampshire click here
To see some of the many letters sent to us for the attention of Lord Freud calling for 100% compensation and a change to the eligibiility date for a scheme payment click here
20 May 2013
The Mesothelioma Bill which provides for payments to mesothelioma sufferers who cannot trace their insurers has commenced in the House of Lords.
Asbestos victims support groups have called on to government to improve the Bill which provides for payments of 70% compensation instead of 100% and imposes an arbitrary cut off date of 25 July 2012 so that all those diagnosed with mesothelioma before that date are not eligible for a payment.
Call for Ministers to equalise dependency and in-life lump sum payments
Asbesos victims support groups have called on Ministers to honour the committment to equalise dependency and in-life Government lump sum payments. In 2010, the Government reduced the difference in payments and promised, in time, to eliminate the difference altogether. Since that time no further move has been made to end the difference in payments.
To see a briefing on the call for action on uprating payments click here
24th April 2012
Lord Alton championed an amendment in the Lords to exempt asbestos victims from paying legal costs. In the Commons the Government finally gave way when the Lords sent the amendment back twice, exempting mesothelioma sufferers from paying legal costs until a report has been given to the Lord Chancellor assessing the impact of the Bill on mesothelioma sufferers. This is a signifcant concession and asbestos victims support groups would like to especially thank Lord Alton, Lord Avebury, Paul Goggins MP who co-ordinated support in the Commons and all those Peers and MPs of all parties who supported the amendment.
On the 21 June the Government unveiled the Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. Part 2 of the Bill contains provisions to make personal injury claimants bear legal costs which were paid by the defendant who is guilty of causing injury.
The provisions are drawn from Sir Rupert Jackson’s ‘Proposals for Reform of Civil Litigation Funding in England and Wales which “provide the opportunity to rebalance the risks of litigation between claimants and defendants”. This means that claimants will have to pay some legal costs out of their compensation so that large insurance companies can reduce their costs. This undermines a basic legal principle that the ‘polluter pays’, i.e. that the claimant receives full compensation.
All the asbestos victims support groups are in discussion with organisations campaigning against cuts to compensation. We will post further information in due course.
Please contact your MP and if possible make an appointment to discuss this important issue.