Implementation of the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 has been delayed again and is now unlikely to be commenced until some point next year.
Having been fast-tracked through Parliament by the last Government as part of new procedures for non-contentious Law Commission recommendations, the Act first stalled under the coalition Government, which undertook new scrutiny of all proposed legislation.
The Act has been particularly keenly awaited by employers’ liability practitioners as it allows the claimant to proceed directly against the insurer without having to resurrect an insolvent defendant company through Companies House. It will, therefore, be particularly valuable in mesothelioma cases, where the time factor is critical for the claimant. In its ongoing discussions with the Government about the need for a fund of last resort for people suffering from workplace disease, APIL has repeatedly stressed the need to bring the Act into force.
In a report to Parliament published last month, the Ministry of Justice said: “Implementation of the Act has been delayed by work on other priorities, but we have nonetheless been working to ensure a smooth commencement when a decision is taken to bring it into force. As part of this work we have provisionally concluded that some rules of court will be necessary; that the Act requires a small amendment to cover all forms of administration; and that the Act should be extended to the newly introduced Debt Relief Orders in Northern Ireland. In view of this it is unlikely that the Act will be commenced until 2013″.