British Coal Compensation

House of Lords written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have assessed the cases of those retired miners who successfully pursued industrial deafness claims against the former British Coal Corporation and who have had the compensation, awarded to them by the Department for Trade and Industry, withheld by their solicitors by reference to the case of Myatt and Others (Petitioners) v National Coal Board (Respondents); and what action is proposed to provide redress for these miners, particularly with regard to the intervening report issued by the Legal Services Ombudsman.

Photo of Lord Truscott Lord Truscott Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Energy), Department of Trade and Industry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Energy)

Following the decision in Myatt, all outstanding noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) costs claims have been reviewed. In many cases the department has compromised the claimants' solicitors' costs, which should have removed any impediment to the claimants receiving their damages. However in other cases the department has concluded that there remains an issue as to the reasonableness of the costs being claimed. Those cases are being progressed through the courts in the usual way.

Where a claimant has had his costs settled but has had moneys withheld by his solicitor, and he is dissatisfied with his solicitor's conduct, he should either seek independent legal advice or refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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