Hurrah for the High Court, Mesothelioma Cases will not be subject to the provisions of LASPO.
Finally some good news and a win over the government for those suffering from this devastating illness, as the Lord Chancellor’s disgusting proposals to trying and extract more damages from Mesothelioma were thrown out in the High Court.
Questions must now be asked of Chris Grayling’s suitability for the role after Mr Justice Williams ruled that he did not carry out a ‘proper review’ of the likely effect on the victims of the asbestos related cancer, after all the Government did say they would always do their utmost to protect access to justice and clearly he did not go to the necessary lengths when it came to making these proposals.
This is positive news for Mesothelioma sufferers but sadly it is not an issue that is likely to go away, especially considering how committed to reform the Government have been within the industry over the past two years in particular.
In conclusion to the ruling Mr Williams said: “It is now for the Lord Chancellor to carry out a proper review of the likely effects of the LASPO reforms in whatever manner he concludes will permit him reasonably to achieve the required purpose.”
The fuss was caused when earlier this year the Justice Secretary suggested that Mesothelioma victims who were making claims for compensations against their employers should no longer be exempt from the terms of LASPO, as originally agreed upon its implementation in 2013.
This meant that they could be come subject to a 25% charge on their damages in order to pay success fees and after-the-event insurance, something that to any decent minded person is completely unfair when you consider the bleak prognosis of the disease.
Serious and Catastrophic Injury Partner at Scott Rees and Co, Chris Walker, heralded the judgement as small but much needed victory for Mesothelioma victims.
He said: “In the current climate, where a lot of decisions and judgements have been made to the detriment of what is right for personal injury victims, this was certainly a surprise victory for Mesothelioma victims but one that gives hope that there is still some humanity in high places.”
“Mesothelioma is truly a terrible condition by it’s very nature and the effect it has on the lives of those suffering from it, as well as their families and loved ones, so to even suggest penalising them under the provisions of LASPO to the tune of 25% of their damages is sickening.”
“What the government need to remember is that these people are not making claims because they choose to. They have been given a death sentence by the negligence of their employers and their right to gain full compensation and access to just a small piece of justice should never be compromised or even questioned.”
“I would like to think that Chris Grayling will now leave this issue alone and focus on more important areas of his role within the Government but sadly we all know how relentless the Government and perhaps more pertinently the insurance companies that have such a strong influence on them, are towards forcing through their justice sapping regimes.”
“For now though Mesothelioma sufferers, who have been subjected to this deadly condition because of the negligence of their employers should be encouraged by this small victory and other victims who are suffering in silence should be encouraged to come forward and not, as the insurers and government would like, be deterred by the stigma that claiming is so very wrong.”
“The issue that is particularly wrong is that they were ever subjected to such horrendous working conditions in the first place and trying to effectively rob them of the deserved damages they claim to provide stability for their families in the future and care for themselves, is a vile way to simply compile their misery.”
“We maintain that all victims of negligence, no matter what the cause, should have their damages protected.”
As Chris alluded to, the proposals have a lot to do with the influence of the insurance industry, something Richard Stein from the human rights department at national firm, Leigh Day, aimed criticism towards.
He said: “The government is seemingly intent on doing what it is told by the insurance industry against the best interests of those suffering from the negligent behaviour of the insured.”
“Today’s judgement should send a clear message to the government that it has to conform with the laws of the land and cannot ride roughshod over the interests of Mesothelioma sufferers and their families to benefit the insurance industry.”
The Shadow Justice Minister, Andy Slaughter, also weighed in on the MoJ’s failings over Mesothelioma and the ties to the insurance industry and their agenda and hinted at mounting pressure on the current Lord Chancellor.
He said: “The government undertook to parliament to review the way Mesothelioma cases are funded. Not only has Grayling broken that promise, the High Court has found, but he has done so as part of a squalid deal with his friends in the insurance industry. That heaps further embarrassment on an already beleaguered Lord Chancellor.”
Of course Mr Slaughter, is referring to the alleged 2012 document which was called ‘Mesothelioma Heads of Agreement’ where it appeared that the Government and leading figures within the insurance industry had struck a deal over the provisions of the Mesothelioma Scheme.