Update: For period 1 April 2013–30 June 2013

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Keywords: legislation, cases, consultations, reports, decisions

LEGISLATION

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Mesothelioma Bill

On 10 May 2013, the Mesothelioma Bill was published and received its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill looks to remedy a lacuna in current provisions regarding individuals diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma who were negligently exposed by their employer to asbestos, specifically where sufferers of this asbestos-related cancer (which frequently takes several decades to manifest) have difficulty tracing their employer or their employers employers liability insurance company, which leaves them with a good claim in principle, but unable to recover compensation.

The Bill allows for the establishment of a scheme by which payments can be made to eligible individuals who were first diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma, as a result of negligent exposure to asbestos at work in the UK, on or after 25 July 2012 (and eligible dependants where the sufferer died before making an application to the scheme). There will be limits on those eligible for this scheme depending on whether they are able to claim from employers or insurers and whether they have received or are eligible for payments from other sources.

The Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 20 May 2013 and has progressed through the committee stages, with the report stage to follow on 15 July 2013. The Bill was one of the measures announced in the Queens speech on 8 May 2013.

Energy Bill

On 18 June 2013, the Energy Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords. The Bill is now progressing through the House of Lords Committee stage, with the final committee review scheduled to occur on 25 July 2013.

Water Bill

On 27 June 2013, the Water Bill was introduced in the House of Commons. The Bill will enable the government to implement the proposals originally set out in the Water White Paper which was published on 8 December 2011. The Bill primarily amends the Water Industry Act 1991 (WIA) in three parts.

Part 1 will make large changes to the water industry including: (1) the expansion and revision of the water supply licensing (WSL) regime under which water companies supply water to customers, the introduction of sewerage licences and the creation of a cross-border retail market between England and Wales and Scotland to allow all business, charity and public sector customers to choose their water and sewerage supplier for the first time and enable multi-site operators to tender for one supplier across Great Britain; (2) amending Ofwat s approval of water and sewerage undertaker's charging schemes by enabling Ofwat to introduce codes and charging rules to increase transparency and streamline negotiations between undertakers; (3) placing a new duty on various authorities to secure the long-term resilience of water supply and sewerage systems against environmental pressures, population growth and changes in consumer behaviour; and (4) providing Ofwat with powers to regulate the water and sewerage market as competition develops. Part ! additionally provides the Secretary of State (SoS) with the power to give water resources management plans directions to water suppliers and amends how frequently such plans need to be prepared.

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