Vara promises new mesothelioma review before abolishing recoverability

Shailesh Vara

Vara: review to be carried out “in due course”

The government will carry out a second review of mesothelioma claims “in due course” before abolishing the recoverability of success fees and insurance premiums, Shailesh Vara, the justice minister, has told MPs.

The High Court ruled earlier this autumn that the government could not go ahead with implementation of sections 44 and 46 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), abolishing recoverability in mesothelioma cases, until a further review had been carried out.

MPs on the justice select committee demanded this summer that the government carry out a second mesothelioma review, following a row over a “secret deal” between ministers and the insurance industry.

Mr Vara said the government intended to carry out a review, as required by section 48 of LASPO, “in due course”, and “further details on the format and timing” would be set out at a later date.

“The court’s judgment and the committee’s report will be considered as part of that process,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr Vara announced that provisions in the Deregulation Bill would allow HM Revenue & Customs to restore their practice of disclosing the work records of deceased victims to their personal representatives or dependants without a court order.

He said the Ministry of Justice was working with the National Cancer Registration Service and Public Health England to secure resources for the implementation of expedited receipt of pathology records and imaging reports.

“Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and the government is determined to do what it can to help sufferers and their families,” Mr Vara added.

“Changes in the law over recent years, including the Mesothelioma Act 2014, have made it easier for victims to obtain compensation.

“The Ministry of Justice is working closely with a wide range of stakeholders to take forward reforms where we can improve the mesothelioma claims process further.”


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