30 October, 2014
In the case of R (on the application of Tony Whitston, Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK) (Claimant) v Secretary of State for Justice (Defendant) & Association of British Insurers (Interested Party) (2014) EWHC 3044 (Admin) QBD (Admin) (William Davis J) 02/10/2014 the High Court found that the consultation carried out by the Secretary of State for Justice relating to the recovery of success fees and insurance premiums in mesothelioma cases was unlawful.
On the 1st April 2013, section 44 and 46 of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 "LASPO" came in to force. The Act prevented the recovery of success fees and insurance premiums paid by successful claimants from unsuccessful defendants. However, the provisions excluded claims relating to mesothelioma. In December 2013 the Lord Chancellor decided to bring into force Sections 44 and 46 of LASPO in relation to mesothelioma claims
The Claimant applied for judicial review of the decision to prevent the recovery of success fees and insurance premiums in mesothelioma cases. The question before the Court was whether the Lord Chancellor carried out a proper review of the likely effects of the LASPO reforms on mesothelioma claims.
The High Court found that there had not been a proper review and as a result sections 44 and 46 can not be brought into force.
It is inevitable that this is a temporary set back for the Government and that the funding of mesothelioma claims will be reformed as soon as the Lord Chancellor carries out a proper review of the likely effects of the LASPO reforms.