British Coal Compensation

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many complaints were lodged with the Law Society (Legal Complaints Service and Solicitors Regulation Authority) in the British Coal respiratory disease litigation and the British Coal vibration white finger litigation; what was the outcome of each complaint; how much was refunded to each complainant; and how much compensation was awarded to each complainant, broken down to awards from (a) £1 to £25, (b) £25.01 to £50, (c) £50.01 to £100, (d) £100.01 to £200, (e) £200.01 to £300, (f) £300.01 to £400, (g) £400.01 to £500, (h) £500.01 to £600, (i) £600.01 to £700, (j) £700.01 to £800, (k) £800.01 to £900, (l) £900.01 to £1000, (m) £1,000.01 to £1,500, (n) £1,500.01 to £2,000, (o) £2,000.01 to £3,000, (p) £3,000.01 to £4,000, (q) £4,000.01 to £5,000, and (r) over £5,000.01.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Legal Complaints Service (LCS) has provided the following information:

Number of complaints Outcome
2,160 Complaint conciliated
673 Complaint not upheld
159 Complaint outside our jurisdiction
43 Complaint resolved without our intervention
565 Complaint upheld
6 Complaint upheld but no action
449 Complaint withdrawn by customer
139 Customer has not responded
109 Referred back to firm under Rule 15
2 Sols reasonable offer
73 Within jurisdiction but investigation declined
1 Complaint referred to SDT
67 Complaint/Allegation noted—Ongoing other action
4 Customer to pursue legal remedy
1 Customer to seek advice/gather evidence
147 closed temporarily
9 Not pursued by Instigator
21 Other
782 Ongoing
5,410 Total

Prior to 2008, the LCS did not keep specific data on the amount of individual awards. A lump sum figure of £602,414.03 was awarded over the period 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2007. Post January 2008, the breakdown is as follows:

Compensation amounts awarded from 1 Jan 2008 to 30 June 2009
£1 to £25 3
£25.01 to £50 3
£50.01 to £ 100 22
£100.01 to £200 83
£200.01 to £300 180
£300.01 to £400 219
£400.01 to £500 284
£500.01 to £600 165
£600.01 to £700 105
£700.01 to £800 110
£800.01 to £900 96
£900.01 to £ 1000 92
£1000.01 to £ 1500 244
£1500.01 to £2000 33
£2000.01 to £3000 24
£3000.01 to £4000 6
£4000.01 to £5000 3
Over £5000 2
Total 1,674

We understand from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that disciplinary proceedings have been concluded (subject to appeal) in 12 cases relating to 41 individuals. The details of the results are as follows

Outcome of Concluded Disciplinary Proceedings
Fined £1,000 to £5,000 17
Fined £6,000 to £ 10,000 8
Fined £ 11,000 to £15,000 5
Fined £16,000 to £20,000
Fined £21,000 to £25,000 1
Reprimanded 4
Suspended for 6 months to 1 year 1
Suspended for 1 to 2 years 1
Suspended for 3 to 4 years 1
Struck off the roll 3

Proceedings are pending against 18 firms involving 67 individuals. Investigations are ongoing in relation to 19 firms. A further 15 firm investigations have been concluded with no disciplinary proceedings being taken. Investigations by the SRA have been conducted as a result of information received from a number of sources including, but not limited to, complaints received.

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