Following agreement by both Houses of Parliament, the Mesothelioma Bill received Royal Assent on 30 January 2014, becoming the Mesothelioma Act 2014 (the Act).
The Act provides for the establishment of a fund to compensate claimants diagnosed with mesothelioma who are unable to trace a relevant employer or insurer. The Mesothelioma Payment Scheme will provide payments to mesothelioma sufferers who can prove they were negligently exposed to asbestos during their employment provided they were diagnosed on or after 25 July 2012. They must also show they have not brought an action for damages or received damages in respect of the disease previously. These payments will be fixed according to the claimant’s age. Each successful claimant will receive 75% of the average award that he/she might receive at court. A final attempt to increase the compensation figure to 80% was narrowly defeated in the Commons.
Payments under the scheme will be funded by a 3% levy on active employers’ liability insurers. On 21 January 2014, Lord Alton introduced the Mesothelioma (Amendments) Bill to the Lords which seeks to raise funds to research the disease by way of an additional 1% levy upon insurers.