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Nia has described the Government’s decision not to protect mesothelioma victims from having to pay their fees out of any compensation awarded as “absolutely shameful”.
Thousands of industrial workers, who came in to contact with asbestos, who have also contracted the disease later in life, have made claims against their former employers and many more are expected.
But under reforms to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders’ Bill, new claimants could have to pay their legal fees from their eventual award.
Government Ministers refused to bow to pressure from the Lords, who demanded an assurance that victims of mesothelioma will not have to pay their fees from any compensation awarded.
Condemning the Government’s decision, Nia said “It is absolutely shameful that the Government is effectively lumping in sufferers from the terrible industrial lung disease mesothelioma as part of a fraudulent and trivial compensation culture.It is a painful disease that can develop many years after exposure to asbestos, and, once diagnosed, sufferers have a life expectancy of only 9 to 12 months.They and their families need all the help and support that they can get, and, by throwing out the Lords’ amendment, the Government is leaving mesothelioma victims having to pay up to 25% of any compensation award they receive as fees to their lawyers. They deserve to keep every penny of that compensation.”