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Law Society slams fixed recoverable cost plans for mesothelioma claims

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The Law Society has slammed ideas proposed by the ABI (Association of British Insurers) and the government to introduce fixed recoverable costs (FRCs) for mesothelioma claims.

They opened fire on the proposals as part of their response to the government’s consultation on reform for mesothelioma claims, arguing that cases involving the asbestos related killer needed to be handled by specialist solicitors.

While they admitted that a dedicated protocol was important for the future of mesothelioma claims moving forward, they took a firm stand against FRCs being the way forward.

Their response said: “Introducing fixed recoverable costs is highly likely in practice to lower the grade of the fee-earner conducting the work, leading to worse outcomes for the claimant.”

This hardly comes as a surprise considering the ABI’s stance on the Mesothelioma Bill, where they have so far successfully convinced the government not to include the ability to claim the full amount of compensation a claimant deserves, in the instance that they are unable to trace their former employer’s insurers.

It is clear that when it comes to the future of claims, even including those of the serious nature mesothelioma represents, that what is good and right for the claimant is not a priority for the ABI.

The Society’s response went on to say: “It is also likely to inhibit the future development of further practitioner specialism in this area.”

Well the insurance industry has made no secret of their desire to see a claims process without legal representatives being involved at the small claim level, so why would they care about the level of representation that claimants who are pursuing far greater damage amounts have.

The Law Society also referred to research by the government’s own advisor Professor Paul Fenn who stated that all disease cases were inappropriate for the EL/PL protocol and portal, including the fixed fee regime.

Of course the government has ignored the recommendations of Professor Fenn before so again it hardly comes as a surprise that they are on the verge of ignoring him again.

What is painstakingly clear from the proposals made in the consultation is that once again the people who should be getting the most consideration when deciding on the best way to reform the mesothelioma claims process, the claimants themselves, are being ignored.

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