Across the UK, 13 personal injury claimant law firms came together, during the week commencing 5 April 2021, to support a new national campaign, called ActionMeso.
The 13 firms are as follows:
- Asbestos Law Partnership (ALP).
- Boyes Turner.
- Digby Brown.
- Hodge Jones and Allen.
- Hugh James.
- Irwin Mitchell.
- Leigh Day.
- Royds Withy King.
- Slater and Gordon.
Under the hashtag, #ActionMeso, patients, carers, charities, support groups, medical professionals, asbestos removal companies, the construction industry, law firms and other affected organisations will culminate to deliver a message to the public that asbestos remains a problem that must be addressed, despite the fact that blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos were banned in 1985 and white (chrysotile) asbestos was banned in 1999.
As part of ALP’s media release, Partner, Helen Wilson, explained that:
‘Asbestos is often thought to be a problem of the past but it’s not. Today people continue to be needlessly exposed to asbestos dust. In the past the biggest danger from asbestos was it being put in buildings, now the danger is asbestos deteriorating undetected or being removed in an unsafe way. It is not a historic problem’.[i]
Building on this, Digby Brown shared the views of Fraser Simpson, Partner and Head of its Industrial Disease department:
‘Asbestos and its dangers is not just a legacy of our industrial past. New generations are at risk due to the continued presence of asbestos in our homes, workplaces and many of our public buildings such as schools, hospitals and universities’.[ii]
These views were echoed by Harminder Bains, a Partner at Leigh Day:
‘Exposure to asbestos is not historical. People are being exposed every day in the UK and around the world in many places such as hospitals, schools, banks, offices and their homes. The successive Governments in the UK have so far failed to highlight the enormity of the problem … The asbestos industry is alive and kicking’.[iii]
Besides simply spreading awareness of mesothelioma and the risks associated with asbestos, the campaign’s other key aim is to eradicate mesothelioma and asbestos in its entirety by promoting the Mesothelioma Patient Charter to healthcare providers, the Government and employers.
As a starting point, ActionMeso is inviting the public to subscribe to the website and follow the relevant social media pages, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, where information is expected to be posted on a regular basis.
This material will likely relate to a series of awareness-building activities throughout the year, leading up to a major annual Action Mesothelioma Day (AMD). The 2021 AMD will be held virtually, with the subsequent 2022 event potentially taking place in person.[iv]
Claimant law firms state that they will assist the campaign by sharing and liking #ActionMeso marketing and helping to develop future campaigns and projects by lending experience accrued through handling disease claims and campaigns internationally.
Previously, we reported in edition 305 (here) that Mesothelioma UK had established a legal panel, comprising of Fieldfisher, Hugh James, Irwin Mitchell, Leigh Day, Novum Law, Royds Withy King, Slater & Gordon, and Thompsons.
Similarly to ActionMeso, the Mesothelioma UK initiative was designed to support and raise awareness of the charity at fundraising events and campaigns, provide donations through legacies and share information and research.
Evidently, claimant firms are engaging with partners whose principal objective is to equip swathes of the public with knowledge of the dangers of asbestos, as sources of exposure transition from active use of the material to more passive encounters and removal works. It would be naïve to suggest that this was not part of a targeted corporate strategy to drive asbestos-related disease claims numbers.
[i] ALP Join Forces with #ActionMeso campaign to raise awareness of asbestos danger’ (7 April 2021 The Asbestos Law Partnership) <https://www.asbestoslawpartnership.co.uk/news/97/ActionMeso> accessed 13 April 2021.
[ii] ‘Law firms join forces to support #ActionMeso campaign to raise awareness of asbestos danger’ (7 April 2021 Digby Brown) <https://www.digbybrown.co.uk/news/law-firms-join-forces-to-support-actionmeso-campaign-to-raise-awareness-of-asbestos-danger> accessed 13 April 2021.
[iii] ‘Law firms join forces to support ActionMeso campaign to raise awareness of asbestos danger’ (7 April 2021 Leigh Day) <https://www.leighday.co.uk/latest-updates/news/2021-news/law-firms-join-forces-to-support-actionmeso-campaign-to-raise-awareness-of-asbestos-danger/> accessed 13 April 2021.
[iv] ‘Fieldfisher adds support to #ActionMeso campaign’ (8 April 2021 Fieldfisher) <https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/injury-claims/insights/fieldfisher-adds-support-to-actionmeso-campaign> accessed 13 April 2021.