Justice Committee decision on the future of mesothelioma claims ‘overcautious’ to tackle growing rise in claims

Today’s announcement by the Justice Select Committee that it recommends the Government to carry out a further review and then to launch an additional consultation before implementation of the LASPO reforms into mesothelioma claims is overly cautious and the findings of the Committee’s report are insufficiently balanced based on the evidence given to it, says leading occupational health lawyer.

DWF partner and head of occupational health and casualty Derek Adamson, who gave evidence at the Justice Select Committee inquiry in May this year, argued that there is no proper distinction between mesothelioma and other serious injury or disease claims on the question of implementation of the new LASPO changes. DWF believes arguments raised by claimant interest groups that mesothelioma claims are somehow different are unfounded, as post-LASPO, the same system now operates for all other types of serious injury claim, and should also do so for mesothelioma claims.

Responding to the Committee’s conclusions in its report, Adamson said: “While the JSC’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. 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 5 years.

“In fact the JSC’s cautious approach should not be followed because no proper weight has been given to the evidence which justifies this reform, and instead the Committee has relied on unsubstantiated conjecture from the claimant side of the argument. Success rates are very high in mesothelioma claims, and have risen further with the reforms which 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.”

Derek Adamson

Partner - Head of Occupational Health and Casualty

I am a leading insurance lawyer involved in cutting edge litigation. My expertise is in policy interpretation arising from mesothelioma claims, environmental litigation, product liability and construction cases, including a wide experience of group litigation cases.