Defendant law firm says mesothelioma cases do not differ from other disease cases and should be included in the Laspo reforms

The Justice Committee has come under attack from defendant lawyers for being “too cautious” in its report on mesothelioma.

The committee has recommended that the government re-consult on the inclusion or exclusion of mesothelioma claims in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (Laspo) Act reforms, but defendant law firm DWF believes this is not necessary.

DWF partner and head of occupational health and casualty Derek Adamson, who gave evidence at the Justice Select Committee inquiry in June, said that there was no reason for mesothelioma claims to be excluded from the reforms, as they do not legally differ from other disease cases.

“While the Justice Select Committee’s report will be properly considered by government, its conclusions are too cautious and not fairly balanced for either insurers or the victims of this terrible disease,” he said. “It seems to me that there is insufficient weight in the committee’s conclusions to dissuade the government from carrying on with its existing plans to implement Laspo for new mesothelioma claims. If the committee’s recommendations are followed, then this reform may well be held back for another five years.”

Adamson also criticised claimant firms for making unsubstantiated claims regarding the legal complexity of mesothelioma cases.

“In fact the Justice Select Committee’s cautious approach should not be followed because no proper weight has been given to the evidence that justifies this reform and, instead, the committee has relied on unsubstantiated conjecture from the claimant side of the argument,” he said. “Success rates are very high in mesothelioma claims, and have risen further with the reforms that have taken place to assist mesothelioma claimants. Any detailed research carried out as suggested by the committee would be expected to confirm the high levels of success within these cases.”

Join the debate at our Insurance Times Regulation Forum on LinkedIn