The government is to review how mesothelioma claims are funded after losing a judicial review on making them subject to the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), the Ministry of Justice said today.
But, two months after the High Court’s ruling, the Ministry of Justice has still made no commitment regarding the format or timing of the review.
Under the headline ‘new support for industrial disease victims’, the MoJ said new measures included working with the National Cancer Registration Service and Public Health England to speed up the process of obtaining hospital medical records.
Provisions are also included in the deregulation bill to enable HM Revenue and Customs to disclose work records of deceased victims.
The issue over funding cases stems from the government exempting mesothelioma claims from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which scrapped the recoverability of success fees and after-the-event insurance from losing defendants.
The government announced a year ago that the exemption would be lifted after a consultation on mesothelioma claims, but this was found to be unlawful in the high court in October after a judge ruled the consultation was not the full review the government had promised when LASPO was implemented.
Justice minister Lord Faulks said the review will take place ‘in due course’, with the court’s judgment, and a critical review of the plans by the justice committee, considered as part of the process.
The government has yet to formally respond to the justice committee, which published its report on 1 August. Faulks said the response to that report would be made ‘shortly’.
Faulks said: ‘Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and the government is determined to do what it can to help sufferers and their families.’
He added that the Ministry of Justice is working in other areas to help victims, including through provisions in the deregulation bill to enable HM Revenue and Customs to disclose work records of deceased victims.