Changes to legal fees for Mesothelioma Claims

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Changes to Mesothelioma Claims

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The Government yesterday announced changes to funding for Mesothelioma Claims.

The changes that came in in April this year for other types of Personal Injury claims will now be extended to Mesothelioma Claims. In short this means that an uplift that Solicitors used to receive on their fees is no longer recoverable from the Defendants in the matter. Solicitors will now be able to take up to 25% from a Claimant's damages for past financial losses and compensation recovered for the injury itself only.

Qualified One Way Costs Shifting will also apply now to Mesothelioma Claims which means that there are limited costs risks to the Claimant for payment of the legal costs of the Defendants. The announcement followed the consultation earlier this year by the Government that proposed an out of court system to deal with these claims more quickly. The Government has decided not to go ahead with this (called the Mesothelioma Pre Action Protocol (MPAP)) and instead has expressed a desire to work with all parties to improve the existing process.

It also decided not to bring in fixed legal fees for this work.  However, it is reported that the insurance industry is considering whether to go ahead with a consultation proposal to set up an electronic case management system for Mesothelioma Claims. 

I think that it is sad that victims of this disease will no longer be protected against the changes to funding rules that came in generally in April this year. In this respect I hold the same view as APIL (Association of Personal Lawyers) who have expressed that they are waiting justification from the Government as to how it can be said to be fair for individuals to receive only 75% of any compensation payable.

However I am very pleased to see that fixed costs will not be applied to this work which some felt may have compromised the amount of time that Solicitors would be able to spend dealing with these cases.  I will keep you posted on further developments.

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