Laws regulating unscrupulous claims companies and aiming to reduce the fear of litigation for those engaged in what are deemed to be 'desirable activities' are dealt with under the Compensation Act 2006, which regulaties so called 'claims firms' and deals with changes affecting negligence decisions. It helps to ensure that those with valid claims find it easier to bring their actions.
Firstly, parts of the Compensation Act 2006 are specifically aimed at claims firms which, until now, have been able to operate without regulation. Sharp tactics used by such firms have included aggressive advertising and the use of hard-sell tactics such as canvassing passers-by in the street.
Aa regulatory regime is now in existence which monitors the claims industry and attempts to ensure that clients are dealt with honestly. Individuals who continue to offer 'claims management services' without the proper authorisation could face imprisonment for up to 2 years. These changes will not affect solicitors, whose professional standards are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority..
Secondly, important adjustments made by the Act as to how the laws of breach of statutory duty and of negligence operates in certain circumstances. As a result, the courts are able to take into account the possibility that 'desirable activities' may be curtailed or prevented by a positive finding of liability. These changes have been aimed at activities such as school trips etc. which, though worthwhile and thought to be socially useful, are becoming increasingly rare owing to the perceived risk of litigation should an accident occur.
Thirdly, clarification is provided by the Act on the effects of apologies and offers of redress. These are not to be considered admissions of liability. This is a further attempt to reduce the adversarial nature of injury claims.
Finally, the Act has also made it easier for those who have contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos at work to bring claims against their employers. This change came after the Government committed itself to reversing a House of Lords’ decision that responsibility for the damages payable should be apportioned amongst all those responsible, according to the degree to which they contributed to the chance of the worker contracting the disease. Under the Act, employers are to be jointly and severally liable for any compensation due to employees who have suffered injury as a result of exposure to asbestos fibres by more than one employer.