[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Payout solicitor is highest paid
Jim Beresford
The Lawyer magazine said Mr Beresford earned 16.75m last year
A lawyer specialising in winning compensation for sick miners has been named the richest in the country.

The Lawyer magazine said Jim Beresford, of Doncaster-based firm Beresfords, earned 16.75m last year.

Miners' campaigners criticised the compensation system, which gives a flat-rate fee of 2,000 to lawyers.

Mr Beresford, who lives near Wetherby, declined to comment, but a statement from the firm said it had won millions of pounds for former miners.

Respiratory problems

The firm represented workers who had suffered breathing problems from their years underground.

The money was claimed from the government's 7.5bn compensation scheme, which was set up after British Coal was found to have been negligent over respiratory diseases and vibration white finger.

An average flat-rate fee of 2,125 per claim was in turn paid to the solicitors.

Miners' campaigner Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract said that in comparison many workers had only received payouts of several hundreds of pounds or less.

'Little work'

Lord Lofthouse said: "It's absolutely appalling giving those amounts for men who worked all that time in those conditions.

"They'd be getting about 200 or 300 and the solicitors would be getting about 2,000, in my view, for very little work."

A statement from Beresfords said the company had secured more claims for former miners with respiratory problems than any other in the country - a total of 180m.

The statement said: "The level of compensation and the solicitors' fee is fixed by the court over which the firm has no control."

How the money was made

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific