Victory for Mesothelioma suffers in the High Court

During 2012 debating changes to the funding of Personal Injury Claims contained in  Part 2 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill  (LAPSO) the House of Lords refused to accept the Governments proposed reforms to the funding system of the time (the Conditional Fee Agreement)  which proposed amongst other reforms  that  a10% increase in general damages and cost protection through Qualified One Way Cost Shifting (QOCS), which in effect meant that the Claimant’s liability for the opponents legal costs would be limited  would compensate for the cost of  a claimant paying success fees. Such success fees currently amount to  up to 25% of general damages.

After paying success fees and the cost of  insurance to cover the Claimants Legal Expenses in the event of an unsuccessful claim known as ‘after the event insurance’ Claimant’s in personal injury actions would suffer a substantial deduction in their compensation award. The Lords felt that  it was abhorrent to impose such costs on dying mesothelioma sufferers

On the House of Lords’ insistence the Government conceded a temporary exemption to mesothelioma sufferers from paying those costs by including section 48 in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2102 (LASPO Act) which delays bringing into force section 44 payment of success fees and section 46 payment of after the event (ATE) insurance pending a review of the effects of these sections on mesothelioma claims, and the publication of a report of the findings of the review.

The High Court today handed down an important decision on the application of to mesothelioma, which had previously been treated as a special case outside the scope of the Jackson costs reforms. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum brought an application seeking judicial review of the Ministry of Justice’s decision to implement ss.44 and 46 of in respect of mesothelioma claims. The effect would have been to abolish the recovery of success fees and ATE premiums from unsuccessful defendants in mesothelioma litigation. The Claimant contended that the purported review had been linked to a package of other proposed reforms, which had later been abandoned, and therefore was not a proper review as required by s.48 of LASPO. William Davis J agreed. The Judge held that the Lord Chancellor had not discharged his duty under s.48 and therefore that the decision was unlawful.

As a result of the decision Mesothelioma sufferers and their families  will continue to recover success fees and insurance premiums from unsuccessful Defendants in mesothelioma claims.

If you or any member of your family have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or any other asbestos related condition we are here to help. Ranked No 1 in the North of England we can provide specialist help and support when you need it most. Call us 24/7 on 0800 107 3000 for more infomation.

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