Miners consider appeal to Court of Human Rights against one-size-fits-all payment

Injured miners are considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in order to fight a proposed lump sum settlement scheme.

More than 240,000 miners have yet to have their compensation claims settled by the Department for

Trade and Industry. The scheme opened in 1997 and closed earlier this year. More than 540,000 miners and their widows have claimed compensation for industrial diseases.

A spokesman for the miners said that any proposal for a one-size-fits-all payment would be unfair. "We would regard it as an abuse of our human rights to fair compensation and we plan to mount a legal challenge," the spokesman said.

The current scheme for settling claims involves assessment by consultants but experts believe that it would take at least seven years to clear the backlog because there are not enough consultants.

It is understood that Justice Turner, who presided over the High Court test case, is considering a compulsory lump sum offer that would speed up settlements.

One alternative being considered is a lump sum scheme that can be opted into. Another option is that claimants are screened electronically and then the consultant views their records, rather than a full initial consultation.

Justice Turner is due to make a decision on the scheme next Monday 18 October.