Charities furious at one-sided mesothelioma reform consultation

September 23, 2013

Charities meeting the Justice Minister, Helen Grant on the 23 September 2013, will express their anger and frustration concerning the consultation reforming mesothelioma claims.

The consultation constitutes the review of the exemption for mesothelioma sufferers from legal costs under the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), and recommends lifting of the exemption.

The options for reform were drafted by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and incorporated wholesale in the consultation paper. Charities’ request to include one claimant option for reform was refused by the Minister.

Charities’ concerns about inadequate and possibly misleading data used in the consultation impact assessment were dismissed, and requests for data to allow expert analysis by statisticians have been refused.

Charities believe that the ABI options will slow down claims and limit access to justice and cannot be construed as reforms justifying the imposition of legal costs.

On behalf of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum; the June Hancock & Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Funds; Macmillan; Mesothelioma UK, Tony Whitston said, “We are furious that the ABI agenda for reform has been adopted wholesale in the Ministry of Justice consultation and is being construed as the basis for imposing legal costs on dying mesothelioma sufferers. We are calling on the Minister to abandon this partisan consultation which disadvantages mesothelioma sufferers, and instead, to arrange an opportunity for the defendant and claimant community to develop a positive agenda for reform.”