- The Minutes and Resolutions of the last meeting were approved.
- It was reported that there are 135 victims of vCJD, as at 7 May 2003. By the end of the meeting, the Trustees will have considered 109 applications.
- The Trustees resolved to write to Irwin Mitchell to confirm that all substantive documentation must be sent to them not less than 5 working days before each meeting. Charles Russell will be expected to have read such papers, checked that matters are complete and prepared Reports before submission to the Trustees. In practice therefore, all relevant documents will need to be sent to Charles Russell sufficiently in advance to enable them to undertake this task.
- The Trustees discussed the experimental treatment that had been given to a victim recently.
- A number of payments can only be made under the terms of the Trust Deed if the family member making the claim can show ‘particular hardship’ or ‘particular financial or emotional hardship.’ These are as follows:
i) For a Qualifier’s psychiatric injury causing particular financial or emotional hardship. (Clause 4.3.2)
ii) Carers’ loss of earnings that causes particular hardship to them. (Clause 5.4)
iii) Victim’s loss of earnings that causes particular hardship to the Victim or to his/her dependants. (Clause 5.5)
iv) Payment to a dependent of the Victim based on the Victim’s projected earnings, where to do otherwise would cause particular hardship to Qualifiers. (Clause 6.2)
v) Payment to a dependent for a period beyond the age of 21. (Clause 6.3)
vi) Payment to a dependent of the Victim who suffers particular hardship because he or she is unable to obtain life insurance or mortgage protection without having to pay a higher premium as a result of his/her relationship with the Victim. (Clause 7.2)
- It was agreed that Charles Russell would send a letter to the solicitors acting on behalf of the families for circulation to their clients explaining the problems in relation to the claims for ‘particular hardship’ and ‘particular financial or emotional hardship’. Charles Russell would send a similar letter to the families with whom they are dealing with direct.
- The Trustees expressed concern that they may not be able to compensate families adequately within the £5m limit on the Discretionary Fund. They will be making representations to the Secretary of State in the autumn for the fund to be increased, and it was thought that Irwin Mitchell and relevant organisations are likely to make similar representations. Generally, the claims listed above will not be formulated and subsequently submitted to the Trustees until the outcome of such representations is known.
- The importance of submitting all claims for the discretionary payments in relation to each victim was emphasised. This is to ensure that the Trustees are able to consider all of the claims when exercising their discretion.
- It was agreed that Charles Russell would prepare a checklist to assist GPs in preparing letters confirming whether a family member had suffered an identifiable psychiatric condition lasting longer than a calendar month.
- It was recognised fully by the Trustees that preparing witness statements in relation to the higher amounts for psychiatric injury claims is traumatic for the families. It would, however, be necessary for the Trustees to have these to ensure their compliance with the Trust Deed.
- The Trustees resolved that they would be prepared to deal with the claims for the £5,000 single sum for psychiatric injury, and claims for higher amounts as a result of financial or emotional hardship could follow.
- Concern was raised with the quality of the evidence of earnings for the dependency calculation, and it was emphasised that inadequate evidence will result in payments being delayed.
- The Trustees considered financial projections for the funds.
- Claims for £5,000 as a result of suffering an identifiable psychiatric condition were considered in relation to one victim. 5 new claims were considered, and 4 claims with outstanding issues.