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Mesothelioma claims: Government response to Justice Committee inquiry

The House of Commons Justice Committee has today published the Government’s response to its inquiry into mesothelioma claims.

As the Government announced last week, it will undertake a further review under s.48 LASPO to identify the likely effects of the reforms on mesothelioma cases before considering whether to maintain the exception of these cases from the reforms, or whether to end the recoverability of success fees and ATE premiums, as in all other personal injury cases.

As to when the review will be carried out, the response simply says “in due course”. It seems unlikely that it will be before the General Election.  Much therefore will depend on the result: if the Conservatives are re-elected, the review is likely to take place during the next parliament, perhaps at a relatively early stage, but if Labour is elected, they may find reason to retain the exemption. Nor are there any details at this stage about the form of the review and the nature of the evidence and research to be required as part of it.

The response does though clarify the MoJ view that mesothelioma claimants will not receive the 10% general damages uplift on general damages since the uplift relates to the application of the LASPO reforms, and cannot therefore be payable in cases where the LASPO changes are yet to be brought in.

It also takes the opportunity to highlight recent positive developments in relation to mesothelioma claims: the new Mesothelioma Payment Scheme has paid out £13 million to over 230 sufferers or their families; steps are being taken to expedite the provision of medical and HMRC records in these cases; and the MoJ continues to work with stakeholders to see how the claims process can be improved.

Further reading

MoJ press release: New support for industrial disease victims

Justice Committee Report and Government Response: House of Commons - Mesothelioma Claims - Justice Committee

By Alex Fusco

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.