8 December 2000
Further OP action ‘will fail’

By FWi staff

AN attempt to revive legal action over organophosphate sheep dip likely to fail, says a lawyer involved in a previous unsuccessful case.

Lawyers Gabb & Co, from Hay-on-Wye, Powys, believe new action may get further funding. It is appealing for money from the Legal Services Commission.

But the Powys-based legal company is unlikely to uncover anything new, said Patrick Allen of the London firm Hodge, Jones & Allen.

In October, Mr Allen told about 25 farmers that a proposed group action over suspected poisoning by OP dips was unlikely to succeed.

His law firm had been unable to find enough evidence to prove a link between OPs and the illness suffered by claimants, he said.

“I think that it is unlikely that there will be more than what we came up with. If theyve come up with something startling, weve yet to hear of it.”

But Elisabeth Charles, partner in Gabb & Co, remains optimistic that her appeal will convince the commission to fund further investigations.

“We will go to the Legal Services Commission with evidence that we think should form the basis of a claim and hope they will reconsider their decision.”

As a secondary argument she will assert that claimants are being denied access to the courts, possibly in contravention of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

No decision is expected from the commission until 31 January.