Although the government in Westminster does not consider it appropriate that the House of Lords’ decision on pleural plaques in Johnston should be overturned in England and Wales, it has opened applications to former claimants under a payment scheme.
The scheme only applies to those who had already begun, but not yet resolved, a legal claim for compensation before the House of Lords’ ruling.
A claimant who was diagnosed with pleural plaques before October 2007, and who had sought advice from a lawyer or trade union before that time, is able to continue with their compensation claim. The scheme does not offer any help to those diagnosed after October 2007.
Applications must be received by 1 August 2011 to be eligible for the one off payment of £5,000. It is anticipated that claimants’ solicitors will not make a charge for assistance provided to those clients who may be eligible to make a claim under the scheme.
The scheme could be said to be some compensation for claimants who have had a legal claim curtailed by the law lords, as opposed to compensation for actually having the condition itself.
Arguably the money would be better spent by the government in funding research on mesothelioma. The outgoing Labour government had pledged £10 million for research into the disease, but the coalition government has now shelved plans for the investment.