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British Coal Compensation

Volume 688: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Who are the 30 highest-earning firms of solicitors in the British Coal respiratory disease litigation; and what amount of legal costs was paid to each such firm. [HL1054]

The following table details the claimant representatives earning the most from the respiratory disease litigation:

Claimant Representative

Total Costs Paid (£m)

Thompsons

94.8

Beresfords Solicitors

93.8

Hugh James Ford Simey

75.4

Raleys Solicitors

59.1

Mark Gilbert Morse

48.6

Browell Smith & Co

41.5

Avalon

31.0

Watson Burton

25.0

Union of Democratic Mineworkers

22.7

Graysons

22.1

Barber & Co

19.5

Randell Lloyd Jenkins & Martin

16.0

Corries

14.6

The Legal Warehouse

13.7

Ingrams Solicitors

13.2

Towells Solicitors

11.8

AMS Law

11.5

Irwin Mitchell

11.1

Moss Solicitors

10.7

Delta Legal

9.1

BRM Solicitors

8.9

Kidd & Spoor Harper Solicitors

8.8

Gorman Hamilton Solicitors

8.3

Wake Smith

8.1

Birchall Blackburn

7.7

Atteys

6.3

OH Parsons

6.2

Hilary Meredith Solicitors

5.0

Shaw & Co Solicitors

4.4

Simpson Millar Solicitors

3.9

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Who are the highest earning firms of solicitors in the British Coal white finger litigation; and what amount of legal costs was paid to each such firm. [HL1055]

The following table details the claimant representatives earning the most from the vibration white finger litigation:

Claimant Representative

Total Costs Paid (£m)

Thompsons

11.6

Browell Smith & Co

9.7

Raleys Solicitors

7.7

Hugh James Ford Simey

6.6

Union of Democratic Mineworkers

6.1

Graysons

4.7

Beresfords Solicitors

4.0

Watson Burton

3.5

Moss Solicitors

3.3

Towells Solicitors

3.1

Atteys

2.2

Kidd & Spoor Harper Solicitors

2.2

AMS Law

2.1

OH Parsons

1.7

Irwin Mitchell

1.6

Saffmans Solicitors

1.6

Shaw & Co Solicitors

1.5

Kingslegal

1.3

Corries

1.2

McLeish Carswell

1.2

Oxley & Coward Solicitors

1.1

Latham & Co Solicitors

1.1

T S Edwards & Son Solicitors

0.9

Hickmotts Solicitors

0.8

Mortons Solicitors

0.8

Thompson & Co Solicitors

0.8

Hopkins

0.8

Marrons Solicitors

0.7

Keeble Hawson Moorhouse

0.6

Gorman Hamilton Solicitors

0.6

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will assist miners and widows in the British Coal respiratory disease litigation and British Coal white finger litigation to seek redress against those solicitors who charged them success fees, administration charges or union fees; and, if so, whether they will instruct their claims handlers to deliver to past and present claimants advice on their rights. [HL1056]

The department has made considerable efforts to secure repayment of fees taken and to make claimants aware of their options if they have been charged a fee. Ultimately this is a matter for the Regulation and Consumer Complaints Boards of the Law Society with which we continue to work to seek redress. The department’s Compensation for Miners newsletter will continue to provide advice on this issue and the consumer complaints service continues to advertise and to receive and investigate complaints.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total sum of legal costs, including those incurred at trial and paid to solicitors and barristers in the British Coal respiratory disease litigation. [HL1191]

As at 13 December 2006, the total paid in legal costs in the respiratory disease litigation was £821.5 million. In addition, the department had spent £35 million on its own legal advice and representation, although we cannot apportion this between claims types.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total sum of legal costs, including those incurred at trial and paid to solicitors and barristers in the British Coal vibration white finger litigation. [HL1192]

As at 13 December 2006, the total paid in legal costs in relation to the vibration white finger litigation was £102 million. In addition, the department had spent £35 million on its own legal advice and representation, although we cannot apportion this between claims types.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many claimants continue to await payment of their compensation in the British Coal respiratory disease litigation. [HL1193]

There are currently about 183,000 respiratory disease claims (31 per cent) that have yet to reach settlement. Many of those claimants will have received interim compensation payments.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many claimants continue to await payment of their compensation in the British Coal vibration white finger litigation. [HL1194]

Overall, 31,000 (19 per cent) of vibration white finger claims await settlement. Around 5,000 general damages claims are awaiting offers and 26,000 services claims remain outstanding.