After their embarrassing defeat in the High Court over the abolishment of recoverability of success fees earlier this year, the Government has vowed that they will carry out a new review into Mesothelioma before finally proceeding with their original plans.
Justice Minister, Shailesh Vara, addressed the Government’s plans in the House of Commons, confirming to MPs their intentions without releasing any timeline for their upcoming plans, only hinting that they would take place in due course.
Of course the reason that the Government’s original proposals were thrown out of the high court, centred around suspicions of a secret deal being agreed between them and the insurance industry and because of this the Government were ordered by the MPs on the Justice Select Committee to carry out a second review.
Mr Vara said: “The Government intends to undertake a review under s. 48 in due course; further details on the format and timing of the review will be set out at a later date.”
“The Court’s judgement and the Committee’s report will be considered as part of that process.”
Mr Vara’s announcement regarding the Government’s plans to continue their campaign to abolish recoverability of success fees and insurance premiums will not be met well by those who have campaigned so hard to ensure Mesothelioma victims are aptly compensated.
However, he did go on to announce that provisions in the Deregulation Bill would allow HM Revenue and Customs to restore their practice of disclosing work records of deceased victims to their personal representatives or dependants without a court order.
He said: “Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and the government is determined to do what it can to help sufferers and their families.”
“Changes in the law over recent years, including the Mesothelioma Act 2014, have made it easier for victims to obtain compensation.”
“The Ministry of Justice is working closely with a wide range of stakeholder to take forward reforms where we can improve the mesothelioma claims process further.”
“Provisions in the Deregulation Bill, currently before Parliament, will enable HM Revenue and Customs to restore their practice of disclosing the work records of deceased victims to their personal representatives or dependants for the purposes of claiming compensation without the need for a court order; and;”
“We are working with the National Cancer Registration Service and others to secure resources for the implementation of expedited receipt of pathology records and imaging reports.”
Although he sees the restoration of the disclosure of work records without a court order as a positive step, Scott Rees and Co Catastrophic Injury Partner, Chris Walker, feels that the Government’s continuing plan to abolish recoverability of success fees shows a lack of humanity.
He said “Obviously this is a positive step taken by the MoJ to help the family’s and those closest to deceased victims to get the justice they deserve for their loved ones, there is no denying that.”
“But claiming that the MoJ want to do all that it can to help victims, whilst it continues to try and abolish the recoverability of success fees is more than a little hypocritical.”
“Victims of Mesothelioma are facing a death penalty where there is not a bright outlook for them when looking forward. The most they can hope for is getting justice against the people that caused them to be facing such a horrific outlook and to provide for their family moving forward.”
“They should therefore be able to claim the highest amount of compensation possible for them, in order for them to successfully do this, whilst being able to fund their own care for the remainder of their unfairly shortened lives.”
“I can only hope that after a review common sense and a level of humanity will reign supreme and the Government will drop these plans to effectively steal from the dying.”