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Reforming Mesothelioma Claims

Volume 567: debated on Monday 2 September 2013

My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Lord McNally, made the following written ministerial statement:

I am today—Wednesday 24 July 2013—announcing the publication of the Government’s consultation “Reforming mesothelioma claims”.

It is a tragic fact that around 23,000 deaths from mesothelioma are predicted to occur between 2014 and 2024. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and terminal occupational disease caused by exposure to asbestos, with sufferers having a median life expectancy of seven to nine months from diagnosis. Despite this, there is evidence that around 50% of claims for compensation take over 12 months to settle, which means that victims may die before their claim is paid out.

The Government recognise that there is a special and urgent case for reforming the way mesothelioma claims are dealt with. The proposals in the consultation build upon the significant work taken forward by the Mesothelioma Bill, currently before Parliament, and seek to increase the pace and improve the efficiency of the claims process so that an early payment of compensation is made to sufferers and their dependants.

The consultation considers introducing a dedicated mesothelioma pre-action protocol (MPAP) supported by an industry funded secure claims gateway. It also seeks views on both the principle and structure of a fixed recoverable cost regime which aims to reflect the greater speed and efficiencies gained by the proposed MPAP.

As part of that consultation, we will carry out the review of the mesothelioma provisions required under section 48 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

The Government accept that the handling of mesothelioma claims is a complex and sensitive issue, and are keen to hear views on our proposals and any further ideas from all interested parties.

Copies of this Government consultation have been placed in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of both Houses. The document is also available online at: