13th December 2002 Eighth Meeting

  • The Minutes and Resolutions of the seventh meeting were agreed.
  • Malcolm Tibbert reported on the meeting chaired by Lester Firkins, Chairman of the Human BSE Foundation, also attended by representatives of Charles Russell, Solicitors, and Irwin Mitchell, Solicitors. The meeting had been held on 20 November 2002 at Irwin Mitchell’s offices.
  • Malcolm Tibbert and David Churchill would offer a telephone ‘help-line’ to families. The details of particular claims would not be discussed.
  • Concern was expressed that some of Irwin Mitchell’s clients were unaware of the 31st March 2001 cut-off for care claims, which had led to false expectations. The cut-off point was part of the package negotiated by Irwin Mitchell and the Department of Health.
  • David Body had sought guidance on the approach that the Trustees would adopt in relation to estranged spouses and parents. The Trustees confirmed that, as a general approach, £70,000 of the Basic Sum would be paid into the victim’s estate to reflect the sum for the victim’s pain and suffering that would be awarded by a Court in assessing common law damages. The distribution of the balance of £50,000 or £55,000 (depending on eligibility) would be determined by the facts of the particular case. When distributing the balance, the following should be considered:
  1. Whether there is evidence of a substantial contribution to the victim’s care or wellbeing, and (to be read conjunctively);
  2. Whether awarding the whole of the Basic Sum to the estate would result in unfairness.
  • Irwin Mitchell should reveal the identities of other potential claimants when submitting claims, as in some cases these had only become apparent after the claim had been submitted.
  • A number of further substantial amendments to the Trust Deed were reviewed. Details for families will be provided in an Update.
  • Claims for the £5,000 single sum for psychiatric injury must ordinarily be supported by medical evidence of the diagnosis of a psychiatric injury from the applicant’s GP or psychiatrist. Claims for any further amounts must be supported by a report from a psychiatrist. The Trustees will not be able to assess without the aid of medical opinion whether an identifiable psychiatric condition ‘falling within the definition contained in ICD-10 or DMS-IV’ had been suffered.
  • In some of the dependency claims it is difficult to ascertain how Irwin Mitchell had reached their net earnings figures. It was agreed that Charles Russell could use the PI toolkit, which tended to result in a higher payment.
  • Elaine Motion had sent an article about the scheme to the Law Society Gazette and the Scottish equivalent.
  • The Annual Report due at the end of the financial year was discussed briefly, as were other accounting and financial obligations.
  • Dr David Stevens reported that the CJD Surveillance Unit is researching the socio-economic pattern of vCJD, and the data which is being held by Charles Russell, Solicitors, would be extremely valuable. Irwin Mitchell should be asked to raise this with their clients to find out whether they would be willing to have details of their earnings passed to the Unit.
  • The Collinge Report (Prion Unit) that alleged that there was a link between beef and sporadic CJD was considered. Any queries should be forwarded to the Department of Health.
  • John Melville-Williams would review a number of claims with relatively minor outstanding issues on 17th December 2002. A subsequent meeting with John and two other Trustees would be held to discuss his decisions. (This was held on 17th January 2003). The decisions would be ratified at the next Trustees’ meeting.
  • At the next meeting, new cases would be considered and a number of the cases with outstanding issues would be re-considered.
  • The amended Trust Deed was signed by the Trustees.
  • 3 claims for interim payments were considered. 22 new claims were considered.

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