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Insight

Big Tent Fallout Causes Urgent Parliamentary Business

Following a "Big Tent" meeting organised by the Ministry of Justice in late June and attended by Fieldfisher which discussed key issues relating to mesothelioma claims, the Government are pushing through a new Insurance Bill using an accelerated procedure which will allow mesothelioma sufferers to bring claims directly against insurers in certain circumstances. Up until now the claimant has had to obtain judgment against an employer before brining another claim against an insurer who refused to satisfy the first judgment.

Andrew Morgan, Partner in Fieldfisher's Mesothelioma Claims Department, says: "Whilst it is somewhat ironic that we have had to wait 4 years (since the introduction of the 2010 Act) before we see urgent action, this development will help mesothelioma sufferers who bring claims against defunct companies where there is some evidence as to the identity of the insurer but that insurer refuses to accept that they are on risk.  Previously in this situation our clients have had to go all the way to trial to obtain judgment and an assessment of damages by a Judge with no hope of a negotiated settlement.  This new procedure will allow us to bring court proceedings against the alleged insurer at a much earlier stage and get the court to decide whether or not they were on risk. Once this question is decided then a settlement can be negotiated or the case proceed to trial as normal. Coming so hard on the heels of the MoJ's Mesothelioma "Big Tent" meeting, this development shows the power of engaging with insurers and Government  and arguing the case on behalf of mesothelioma sufferers at the highest levels"