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Welcome to the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (AVSGF)

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (AVSGF-UK) is an umbrella organisation representing asbestos victims support groups. The Forum' s main purpose is to work collectively to provide one voice for asbestos victims.

For advice on benefits and compensation and support for sufferers of asbestos disease and their families contact Forum Members

GMAVSG News Archive...
19 December 2013

Forum Judicial Review challenging S 48 Review

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum has challenged the legality of the review of the mesothelioma exemption from legal costs by way of Judicial Review. 

To see the Judicial Review letter to Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor, click here

7 December 2013

Government refuses any concessions on Mesothelioma Bill

Despite a determined campaign by asbestos victims groups, trade unions, solicitors and some sympathetic Coalition MPs, led by the Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, the Government resolutely refused the smallest concession in the debate on amendments to the Mesothelioma Bill on 7 January. Asbestos victims support groups throughout the UK would like to especially thank the hundreds of mesothelioma sufferers and their families who wrote to their MPs, often with heart rending messages, calling for changes to the Bill. The passionate arguments from MPs dedicated to justice for asbestos victims during the debate, led by Kate Green MP for the opposition, were compelling. It is a great discredit to the majority of MPs who, expressing sympathy for mesothelioma sufferers, voted against amendments to improve this Bill which gives so much to the insurance industry and so little to asbestos victims. The fight to redress the balance in favour of mesothelioma sufferers and for all asbestos victims will continue despite this Government's intransigence.

To read the debate click here...

4 December 2013

Government abandons controversial reforms in its consultation 'Reforming mesothelioma claims' but intends to remove the 'Mesothelioma Exemption'.

The Government announced in a ministerial statement on the 4 December that it has abandoned the controversial reforms to the mesothelioma claims process: a mesothelioma pre-action protocol and fixed costs. The Government will consider other improvements to the claims process involving stakeholders. Asbestos victims support groups have welcomed this sensible decision to abandon the consultation reforms which were written by the Association of British Insurers in their interests and contrary to the interests of asbestos victims

But, asbestos victims and their supporters condemn the Government's decision to cite the Mesothelioma Bill as one of the grounds for imposing legal costs on mesothelioma sufferers in the consultation/review required under Section 48 LASPO Act 2012. The Government's subsequent ministerial statement compounds the irrationality of the decision to cite the Mesothelioma Bill in the review.

3 December 2013

Publication of Second Reading debate on the Mesothelioma Bill


2nd December House of Commons first debate on the Mesothelioma Bill

On Monday 2nd December MPs will participate in the Second Reading of the Mesothelioma Bill. This is the first opportunity for MPs to discuss the Bill and to express their views on how the Bill might be improved. Hundreds of mesothelioma victims have contacted their MPs to call for changes to the Bill.

To see the Forum press release for Monday 2nd December please click here...

11 November 2013

Mesothelioma Bill Briefing and Pamphlet for MPs

2 October 2013

The last opportunity to submit responses to the Ministry of Justice consultation Reforming Mesothelioma Claims expires on 2 October. The Forum has sent their response with a headline statement:

The consultation betrays a fundamental misconception of the claims process. Preparing evidence for, and sending a letter of claim, initiates a legal process to sue for damages under the tort of negligence. Issuing proceedings is simply a continuum of the claims process.

The distinction between pre-action and issue of proceedings is misleading, as is the suggestion that there is no issue of liability at the onset of the claims process, or that claims are uncontested at the outset. The fact that ultimately there is no defence in many cases, is misleadingly interpreted as ‘liability is not an issue and cases are uncontested.’ and such cases are therefore candidates for a PAP.

This canard lies at the heart of the consultation. The truth is that claims are made in accordance with pre-action procedure, whatever the name of that procedure, and are invariably contested and early liability resisted prior to court proceedings.

The ABI proposals in this consultation paper have nothing to do with speeding up claims. Early liability could be admitted under the existing pre-action process – it is not. The intention is to take control of the claims process by: falsely describing claims as inappropriate for court action and imposing sanctions for doing so; demanding more information to position the defendant to resist claims, and; imposing fixed costs to limit the opportunity for claimants to have fair and expert representation.

Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum

To see the full Forum consultation response click here

To see Minister's response to report of the charities meeting 23 Sept click here

23 September 2013

Times article about charities meeting 23 September with Minister Helen Grant on the consultation Reforming Mesothelioma Claims

To see the article click here

Charities attending the meeting included: Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum; British Lung Foundation; Macmillan; June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund; Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund; Mesothelioma UK.
The Minister Helen Grant assured all of the charities that she “would not do anything that would not be welcomed by mesothelioma victims and their families”.

20 September 2013

Forum press release in advance of meeting the Minister, Helen Grant on Monday 23 September about the Ministry of Justice consultation: Reforming Mesothelioma Claims

To see the press release click here

25 July 2013

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK asks the British Lung Foundation (BLF) to repudiate the misuse of a draft of the BLF survey of people with mesothelioma.

The ABI sent a report to every Parliamentarian on the eve of the House of Lords debate on the Mesothelioma Bill 17 July 2013 quoting selectively from a draft of the BLF mesothelioma survey to promote their interests.

To see the Forum letter please click here

25 July 2013

The Asbestos Victims support Groups Forum UK formally complains to the MoJ about the consultation because of bias in favour of the ABI agenda which exclusively informed the consultation paper.

To see the Forum complaint please click here

24 July 2013

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) publishes a consultation paper Reforming mesothelioma claims: A consultation on proposals to speed up the settlement of mesothelioma claims in England and Wales.

To see the consultation paper click here

17 July 2013

Peers reject amendments to provide for 100% compensation in the Mesothelioma Bill and to back date payment to February 2010

Despite powerful arguments in favour of full compensation backdated to February 2010 a majority of members of the House of Lords voted down amendments to achieve vital improvements to the Mesothelioma Bill. However, the level of payment was marginally increased from 70% to 75%. The Bill will got to the Commons in the Autumn.

An amendment to provide for an insurers’ funded levy for mesothelioma research was defeated by a small majority.

To read the debate at Report stage click here

11 June 2013

Members of the House of Lords completed two days detailed debate on the Mesothelioma Bill in Grand Committee
To read the debate on the 5 June click here
To read the debate held on the 10 June click here

9 June 2013
Debbie BrewerTribute to Debbie Brewer, Mesothelioma Sufferer and campaigner who died 9 June 2013
Debbie Brewer who died on the 9 June from mesothelioma fought her disease bravely and campaigned relentlessly on behalf of fellow mesothelioma sufferers. Debbie set up the group Mesothelioma Warriors to wage battle against the dangers and continued use of asbestos and for better mesothelioma treatment and funding for mesothelioma research. Debbie earned the respect and deepest affection of many people both in the UK and internationally, especially her fellow mesothelioma sufferers who described her as “brave, dynamic and an inspiration to all us sufferers” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-22837898)
All of the asbestos victims support groups send their sincere condolences to Debbie’s family.

04 June 2013

Mesothelioma sufferers and their families appeal to Lord Freud to change the Mesothelioma Bill
To see some of the messages from our on line petition click here

To see Sheree Hampshire’s appeal to Lord Freud regarding her late father Charles Hampshire click here

To see some of the many letters sent to us for the attention of Lord Freud calling for 100% compensation and a change to the eligibiility date for a scheme payment click here 

20 May 2013

The Mesothelioma Bill which provides for payments to mesothelioma sufferers who cannot trace their insurers has commenced in the House of Lords.
Asbestos victims support groups have called on to government to improve the Bill which provides for payments of 70% compensation instead of 100% and imposes an arbitrary cut off date of 25 July 2012 so that all those diagnosed with mesothelioma before that date are not eligible for a payment.

18 May 2013

Master WhitakerSenior Master Whitaker, Royal Courts of Justice QBD answers the Asbestos Victims Support Group's Forum questions about his ground-breaking fast track court procedures for expediting mesothelioma claims
10 May2013
Restriction on asbestos trade blocked
Russia and six allies blocked the listing of chrysotile (white) asbestos as an internationally recognised hazardous substance to the dismay of asbestos campaigners, especially those in developing countries.


April 8th 2013

Asbestos campaigners call on David Cameron to press for inclusion of chrysotile asbestos on list of dangerous substances
Trade unions, doctors and asbestos campaigners have signed a letter from the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum calling on David Cameron to take urgent action to prevent vested interests blocking the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos on the list of dangerous chemicals and substances. Russia, the largest producer of asbestos and exporter of asbestos to developing countries leads the opposition to inclusion of asbestos on Annex 11 of the Rotterdam Convention. The Rotterdam Convention establishes the right to know about dangerous substances, and the failure to include chrysotile asbestos, a known and dangerous carcinogen, is unforgivable.

February 5th 2013

Call for Ministers to equalise dependency and in-life lump sum payments
Asbesos victims support groups have called on Ministers to honour the committment to equalise dependency and in-life Government lump sum payments. In 2010, the Government reduced the difference in payments and promised, in time, to eliminate the difference altogether. Since that time no further move has been made to end the difference in payments.
To see a briefing on the call for action on uprating payments click here


November 2012


Simon Pickvance, founder of Workers' Health International Newsletter and pioneering occupational health worker and activist died 23 November 2012.
A tribute by Rory O’Neil, editor, Hazards:
Simon Pickvance, our friend, brilliant colleague and consummate internationalist and networker, died on 23 November 2012. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma two years ago, a consequence of one-time day job as a bricklayer as he developed innovative, worker-oriented occupational health support in primary care. Simon created Workers' Health International Newsletter, which consolidated international information exchange and cooperation between union and health and safety activists and sympathetic medics and scientists worldwide. He was recently made an Emeritus Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini. His work was also recognised in awards from the grassroots Construction Safety Campaign and Hazards Campaign. His earlier work as a molecular biologist was noted in John Sulston’s 2002 Nobel Prize lecture.

5 September 2012

Canada turns its back on asbestos
The Parti Quebecois, which has won a slender majority in the recent provincial election, is committed to terminating the $58m loan to revive the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine in Quebec.
In another extraordinary turn of events Canada's Minister of Industry, Christian Paradis, has announced that the Canadian Government will no longer oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention.
Additionally, Christian Paradis, who has been a staunch supporter of the revival of the Thetford Asbestos Mine in his constituency, has announced that Canada will provide $50m to provide jobs in other industries, ending reliance on asbestos production.
This could be the END of asbestos production in Canada.

25 July 2012
Lord Freud announces new scheme for untraced insurance
Today, Lord Freud, Minister DWP, announced a scheme to pay compensation to mesothelioma sufferers who cannot trace their insurers. The scheme will be effective from today but will take about two years for payments to be made. We welcome this first move on untraced insurance but we are bitterley disappointed that the scheme doesn't cover 50% of asbestos victims who are excluded. We are pressing Lord Freud to include all asbestos victims.
To see the Forum press release click here...


June 2012

Action Mesothelioma Day 2012Action Mesothelioma Day
Friday 6th July 2012

For a list of all UK events click here


29 June 2012
Quebec Government agrees loan guarantee to re-open the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine

The Quebec Government has shocked Canadian public health authorities, asbestos victims and thousands of Canadian citizens with the decision to fund the re-opening of the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine against international opposition. This new mine will produce some 5 million tonnes of asbestos over 20 years, most of which will be exported to india.

To see the Forum press release please click here

24th April 2012

The Government have given way to pressure from the Lords and agreed to exempt mesothelioma sufferers from paying legal costs
Lord Alton championed an amendment in the Lords to exempt asbestos victims from paying legal costs. In the Commons the Government finally gave way when the Lords sent the amendment back twice, exempting mesothelioma sufferers from paying legal costs until a report has been given to the Lord Chancellor assessing the impact of the Bill on mesothelioma sufferers. This is a signifcant concession and asbestos victims support groups would like to especially thank Lord Alton, Lord Avebury, Paul Goggins MP who co-ordinated support in the Commons and all those Peers and MPs of all parties who supported the amendment.

28th March 2012

Mesothelioma Sufferers Win Supreme Court Victory
Today, the Supreme Court decided to maintain the status quo so that insurers at the time exposure to asbestos occured are responsible for paying compensation. If the Court had agreed with the insurers's case that they only pay compensation when mesothelioma develops, thousands of mesothelioma sufferers would lose compensation because so many employers are no longer trading and there would be no insurer to pay compensation. This case has been dragged through the courts for 6 years and the judgment will at last end a long wait for justice. Sadly, thousands of mesothelioma sufferers have died during that time and never lived to see justice handed down.
To see the Forum press release please click here

3rd March 2012 All Party Peers attack gross injustice to asbestos victims in Times letter

Six Peers have written to the Times to say that a Government Bill which makes asbestos victims pay up to 25% of their damages for pain and suffering is a "gross in justice".
Eighteen Peers have already signed a letter to colleagues calling for support for amendments to prevent this injustice.  


13th February 2012 - 16 Years sentence for 3,000 asbestos deaths in historic Turin Eternit trial
Eternit asbestos cement company magnates, Swiss Stephan Schnidheiny and Belgian Baron De Cartier de Marchienne have been found guilty today in a Turin court of criminal charges of causing wilful and deliberate environmental disaster and wilful and deliberate failure to implement precautions in the work place.
Click here to see Forum press release
For Eternit and The Great Asbestos Trial click here

14th December 2011 - Northern Ireland: Pleural Plaques

People suffering from the asbestos-related lung condition pleural plaques will be able to seek compensation from 14th December 2011.

12th December 2011 - Scotland: Pleural Plaques

A Supreme Court decision gives the Scottish Parliament the right to implement the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) Act 2009 so that pleural plaques sufferers in Scotland may now claim compensation.

December 2011 - HSE Asbestos Campaign Resurrected

The Health and Safety Executive’s award-winning ‘Hidden Killer’ asbestos campaign is to recommence, after being put on hold for over a year on government instruction. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum joined many other organisations lobbying to reinstate the Hidden Killer Campaign. Asbestos victims support groups welcome the reinstatement of the campaign which has the potential to save hundreds of lives.

December 2011 - Lord Alton tables amendments to protect asbestos victims’ compensation

Click here to see the Asbestos Forum’s briefing paper calling for support for Lord Alton’s amendments.

Lords speak up for asbestos victims in second reading of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Prosecution of Offenders Bill (LASPO Bill).

Several members of the House of Lords spoke on behalf of asbestos victims in the second reading of the LASPO Bill. Their comments are highlighted in the text of the second reading – click here


28 October 2011

Six major charities have issued a warning on the effects of the Legal Aid Bill on access to justice
For their press release please click here

15 September

Asbestos victims shocked at Conservative MPs behaviour rebuked by Public Bill Committee Chair Jim Sheridan MP Forum Press release click here

9 September
Asbestos victims attack legal reforms: Forum Press Release and Guardian article.
Forum Press release: click here
Guardian article: click here

6 August

The Forum's written evidence to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Prosecution of Offenders Bill, Public Bill Committee can be found by clicking here..

2nd August

Support groups ask mesothelioma sufferers and their families for their comments on the draft Bill
If you or your family have sought compensation for mesothelioma we would be very grateful if you would please complete a short questionnaire about what the proposed changes in the draft Bill affecting compensation would have had on your decision to claim compensation. Please email your response or send it to us. Thank you.

You can see our letter and questionnaire if you click here.....

Or click here to complete and send it online

To read some comments by mesothelioma sufferers and their families on completed survey forms please click here...

19th July
Asbestos victims welcome MPs concern about new Bill
The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum wrote to MPs who expressed their concerns about the Legal Aid Sentencing and Prosecution of Offenders Bill. The Bill affects access to Legal Aid and also has a serious impact on compensation paid to asbestos victims who have no access to Legal Aid.
To read the letter please click here

Action Mesothelioma Day Friday 1st July 2011

Click here to read the Press Release for Action Mesolthelioma Day 2011

For more information please click here...

For a report on all the AMD events please click here...

June 2011 EU Call for Sanctions on Canada
For European Federation of Building and Woodworkers and the Inetrnational Ban Asbestos Secretariat press release click here...

21st June 2011
Government Bill hits compensation
The Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill contains provisions to make personal injury claimants bear legal costs which are currently borne by the losing party. This means that sufferers of asbestos diseases will have to pay legal costs out of their compensation. This will have a serious impact on access to justice because may people will be deterred from making a claim. We will be joining with other organisations to campaign against the provisions of this Bill. 

To access our press release click here

To access the Bill click here

15th April
Quebec Government agrees in principle to fund the expansion of the Jeffrey asbestos mine
The government of Quebec has decided to ignore the pleas of human rights advocates, hundreds of public health experts worldwide and one of the province's largest unions and says it will fund the expansion of Canada's last asbestos mine.

20th April
Scottish and Northern Ireland Pleural Plaques cases to go to the Supreme Court:
The Scottish Court of Sessions has upheld the Scottish Parliament’s right to enact legislation to pay pleural plaques sufferers. However, the case is to be appealed by the insurers to the Supreme Court.

The Northern Ireland Attorney General has referred the Assembly’s legislation to pay pleural plaques sufferers to the Supreme Court.

March 2011

Landmark Supreme Court Judgment on low exposure to asbestos
On the 9th March, the Supreme Court upheld the judgments of the High Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Diane Wilmore and Enid Costello who died from mesothelioma due to low exposures to asbestos. The Supreme Court ruled that the current test that only requires a 'material risk of developing mesothelioma' should stand in such cases. For the Forum press release click here...


March 2011

Landmark Supreme Court Judgment on low exposure to asbestos
On the 9th March, the Supreme Court upheld the judgments of the High Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Diane Wilmore and Enid Costello who died from mesothelioma due to low exposures to asbestos. The Supreme Court ruled that the current test that only requires a 'material risk of developing mesothelioma' should stand in such cases. For the Forum press release click here...

December 2010...

MPs and delegation hand in letter to Prime Minister click here

The Lancet exposes Quebec's hypocrisy - click here

Pictures of the London protest 9th Dec -click here

Asian Delegation Press Release  click here

The Asian Delegation Speaks to the World  click here

India: Ex-Asbestos miners' hunger strike to demand disclosure of medical records   click here

9th December Quebec Jeffrey Asbestos Mine Protest
A protest will be held outside Canada House, London, and in many other capital cities, on the 9th December, to coincide with an Asian delegation to Quebec to protest at the planned expansion of the Quebec Jeffrey asbestos mine.

For information see the flyer.....link


Disastrous Court of Appeal "Tigger Case" Decision
The Court of Appeal handed down a judgment on the 8th October which allows insurers to argue that their insurance premium is only triggered at the time a mesothelioma sufferer develops the disease. This will rob compensation from thousands of asbestos victims and create huge uncertainty and distress for all.

Our Press Release can be found here

Remembering Nancy Tait MBE Hon DUniv

Michael Lees receives prestigous awards for his work on asbestos in schools  view here

Latest News and Important Events
July 1st Canada Day of Shame Protest

A protest was held on Canada Day, 1st July, to shame Canada for its continued export of asbestos to developing countries, and especially for the Quebec government’s proposed loan guarantee of $58 million for a new asbestos mine, the Jeffrey mine, which will produce more than 200,000 tonnes of asbestos a year for the next 25 to 50 years.
In the meantime, the Canadian Government is assisting the opening of the Jeffrey mine for one month to attract international investment and it is understood that UK and Indian companies are interested in visiting the mine. A joint press release has been issued condemining any investment in the Jeffrey mine.

Canada Day Protest Press Release . . . . view here

Photo of Canada Day Protest ..... view here

Joint Press Release ......  view here

Forum Tribute to Michael Clapham MP view here

Pleural Plaques

The Coalition Government has honoured the Labour Government's committment to pay £5000 to pleural plaques sufferers who had made a claim for compensation prior to the Law Lord's ruling on the 17th October 2007. This is an extra statutory payment and no charge should be made by any solicitor for providing evidence that a claim had been registered prior to the 17th October 2007. We would urge anyone who has been charged by a solicitor to contact us.

For details on who is eligible for a payment please click here

Click here for more details about the campaign.

10th February, 2010 _ Government to set up an Insurance Fund of Last Resort

The government has announced a consultation on setting up a fund of last resort for injured workers who cannot trace their employers' liability insurers. This consultation is immensley important. . . . . more

The Health and Safety Executive launch a new £1.2million Asbestos: Hidden Killer campaign

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a campaign to warn maintenance workers of the dangers of asbestos in buildings today.
The campaign aims to aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by asbestos and how workers can protect themselves.
Across Britain, around 20 tradesmen die from asbestos diseases every week and the numbers are increasing. Workers most at risk of exposure to asbestos are those most likely to disturb or damage it such as plumbers, joiners and electricians.

Mike Cross, HSE’s North West Head of Construction, said: “Asbestos is Britain’s biggest industrial killer . . . . Contrary to what many people believe, the risks are not a thing of the past. Asbestos-related illnesses claim the lives of 4,000 people every year — more than die in road accidents.

For information about the campaign go to:

For information about essential precautions to prevent exposure to asbestos at work go to:

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit . . . The case for disregard

It seems utterly perverse that asbestos victims in receipt of IIDB, dying from mesothelioma, should have their means-tested benefits cut for the short period of their remaining lives.
The Asbestos Victim Support Groups Forum have produced a booklet putting the case for a disregard of IIDB in respect of means-tested benefits. To read the booklet . . . view .

February 2009_Government Allows T&N Claimants to Keep Lump Sum Payments

The government has announced that it will now allow T&N claimants to keep lump sum payments as well as the small payments from the T&N Funds. This welcome decision was announced on the 13th February. . . . more

February 2009_Call for government funding for mesothelioma research centre.

Mesothelioma sufferers will gather on Friday, February 27 to call for the government to invest millions in research to treat the devastating asbestos related disease, Mesothelioma is the least researched of the top twenty cancers.....
For the Forum Press Release please . . . click here

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