On 18th December 2013 the Ministry Of Justice announced the Government’s intention to publicly consult on the proposals to reform how mesothelioma claims are dealt with.
The reforms look to address how legal claims for mesothelioma compensation are handled. The consultation will be issued in the Spring 2013 with a view to introducing fixed legal fees, a dedicated pre-action protocol and an electronic portal for claims to be registered, similar to the current system for dealing with straightforward Road Traffic Accident claims. The aim of the consultation is to speed up the mesothelioma compensation process.
However, we feel that the proposed changes could erode access to justice for mesothelioma sufferers. While Claimants will be limited in the amount of costs they can recover for specialist legal advice in their case, Defendants will be unrestricted in their ability to involve the highest level of legal representation without any cap on costs.
It would appear that the government remain intent on satisfying the demands of the powerfully insurance industry lobby at the expense of the most vulnerable in society.
A specialist fast-track procedure for the handing of mesothelioma claims already exists and has been extremely successful in assisting mesothelioma Claimants.
It remains to be seen what effect the proposed changes will have on those who require specialist, attentive legal representation.