From Jackson Review to flooding and pleural plaques, we present a round-up of the latest developments in claims and liabilities

The Jackson Review

The Jackson Review of spiralling costs in the civil litigations process was commissioned by the last government. The wide-ranging review includes the proposed abolition of so-called ‘no win, no fee’ success agreements and after-the-event insurance premiums, both of which will require primary legislation.

In a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons on 26 July, justice minister Jonathan Djangoly announced that the new coalition government will “as a matter of priority” consult in the autumn on implementing the review.

He said the review would focus on the reform of conditional fee agreements.

The autumn consultation will also seek views on other related recommendations on funding arrangements, such as whether lawyers should be permitted to enter into damages-based agreements or 'contingency fees', which allow a lawyer to take a percentage of the claimant's damages in return for taking on the claim.

The consultation will take account of related reforms to the legal aid process on which the government will also be seeking views during the autumn.

What happens next?

Ministry of Justice has pledged consult on the implementation of the Jackson review in the autumn.

Employers’ liability

Labour issued consultation on its plans to set up a fund of last resort for untraceable employers’ liabilities claims immediately prior to the general election.

Consultation on the proposal to establish an Employers’ Liability Insurance Board, which is similar to the Motor Insurance Board, closed on the day before the general election on 5 May.

The Department for Work and Pensions has said that it is examining the consultation responses.

In the meantime, the Association of British Insurers has established an employers’ liability tracing office to help track down liability for untraced claims.

What happens next?

The government is due to announce its response on the ELIB consultation.

Pleural plaques

In March, former justice secretary Jack Straw awarded a one-off payment of £5,000 to people suffering from the asbestos-related condition pleural plaques, who had lodged but not resolved claims before the October 2007 Law Lords ruling that they were not legally entitled to compensation.

Following the election, justice minister Jonathan Djangoly confirmed to MPs that the new government would make a payment to all sufferers of the asbestos-related condition.

A hearing is currently taking place in the Scottish High Court following an appeal by insurers against a judicial decision earlier this year upholding Scottish parliament legislation to award compensation to pleural plaque sufferers.

What happens next?

The Ministry of Justice is drawing up guidelines on how the compensation should be awarded to pleural plaque sufferers.

Flooding

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman has pledged that this year’s planned increase in flood defence funding will be maintained.

And in his recent Budget, chancellor George Osborne said the government will not make any further cuts in capital spending beyond those already announced by Labour before the election.

The government has pledged to implement the Pitt review, set up following the 2007 floods in England, which recommended a national flood management strategy.

But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has identified flood management as one of the areas via which it hopes to secure £169m worth of efficiency savings.

The comprehensive spending review, due to be announced in mid October, will give details of future funding of flood defence and management.

The outcome of the spending review will feed into discussions on a replacement for the ‘statement of principles’ agreement between the insurance industry and the government, which is due to elapse in 2013. Under this deal, the industry has agreed to supply cover for flood prone areas until that date in return for a long-term government strategy to tackle the issue.

What happens next?

Defra is to identify ways in which flood budgets can contribute to its £169m efficiency target.