Justice minister Lord McNally has admitted there is still no date to implement a three-year-old piece of legislation to help claimants.
The Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act received royal assent in March 2010, just weeks before the end of the Labour government, but has yet to be enacted.
The continued delays leave third parties having to rely on legislation dating back to 1930 that makes it more difficult for injured parties to claim against insolvent companies, most commonly their former employer.
In April the Ministry of Justice published a statement saying it would amend the act and bring it into force ‘as soon as reasonably possible’.
McNally, speaking in the House of Lords last week, said the position has not changed since that update.
He said: ‘We intend to introduce legislation to amend the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 as soon as parliamentary time permits and to commence the act as amended as soon as reasonably possible thereafter on the same day across the whole of the United Kingdom.’
He added that implementation of the act has been delayed by work on other priorities and the need to amend it.
If enacted, a third party would be able to issue a claim against an insurer without first obtaining a judgment against the insolvent party.
Currently an injured person has no direct claim against insured monies which go into the general fund available to the body of creditors of an insolvent company. The 1930 act of the same name is now considered too cumbersome and is rarely used.
A spokesman for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers said: ‘APIL has lobbied continually for many years on this issue as resurrecting defunct companies is expensive as well as time-consuming, and mesothelioma victims in particular simply cannot afford delays.
‘Enacting the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 would make the onerous process unnecessary and we urge the MoJ to move quickly on this if it is serious about improving the system for dying claimants.’
Meanwhile, the Welsh Government’s counsel general Theodore Huckle QC has referred legislation around recovering costs for asbestos-related diseases to the Supreme Court following lobbying from the insurance industry.
The Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill was introduced on 3 December and is intended to enable the Welsh Government on behalf of the NHS in Wales to recover the costs of medical treatment and care provided to patients in Wales who have sustained asbestos diseases and have achieved a civil settlement or judgment in or out of court from an employer or other body, corporate or incorporate.
The legislation has the support of trade unions and is the subject of ongoing consultation.