A solicitor whose firm specialises in compensation claims for sick miners made a personal profit of £16.8 million in one year.
Jim Beresford is the senior partner in Beresfords, a firm in Doncaster which registered more than 90,000 claims under the Government-run scheme. He is named today as Britain’s highest-earning solicitor.
Tens of thousands of former miners whose health was damaged by their years of work underground have received awards of less than £1,000.
More than 15,000 claimants died before they received any money, yet in 2005, when the scheme was running at its peak, 56-year-old Mr Beresford grew richer at a rate of £45,892 every day.
The bulk of his firm’s profits were paid by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for its work on claims by miners suffering from chronic respiratory disease or a disabling hand condition called vibration white finger (VWF).
Thousands of the claims registered by Beresfords were handed to the firm by the Not-tinghamshire-based Union of Democratic Mineworkers.
Details of the union’s financial relationship with three law firms, including Beresfords, handling coal claims were revealed by The Times in 2005 and are the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation.
In that year, Beresfords, which has only three partners, earned a pretax profit of £20.4 million.