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Patrick McGuire, PartnerIt’s been a tough slog for the thousands of victims of the PIP breast implant scandal both here in Scotland and further a field. From the moment the news broke that the French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) had been supplying clinics with implants using non-authorised silicon gel, or in other words implants which should not have been used for medical purposes, it has been an emotional roller coaster.

The lowest point is without a doubt when a Scottish mother died as a result of a ruptured implant. This sent shock waves through the thousands of women waiting and fearing the worst about their own situations.

There was no doubt in my mind that these women had to be compensated not only for their financial loss but for the stress, fear, anxiety and every other emotion and upset they and their families have experienced as a result of the negligence of this one firm.

There was further disgust last week when the founder of the PIP firm, Jean-Claude Mas was released from jail just months before he’s due to stand trial for his part in this global health scandal. The 73 year old was charged with causing grievous bodily harm and was sent to prison in March this year for unpaid bail charges. His release will create an anxious wait until the high profile court case next April for his victims who will no doubt be wondering if he’ll hang about to face the music or use his new found freedom to flee the country.

The victims of this scandal are understandably disappointed at his release and angry with the system that has allowed him to walk free while they go through hell. 

All this aside, there is the matter of the civil action to ensure each and every victim is compensated adequately. In England lawyers are taking forward a class action in the form of a group litigation order (GLO). Basically this means that all those who are making a claim will proceed with their case together. In Scots law this option is not available but as most of the Scottish women were operated in England they are in the position of being able to pursue their claim either here, as an individual, or in England as part of the group.

A register has been set up for women wanting to join the GLO but a deadline has now been set meaning after 8th April next year no more names can be added. This will understandably put pressure on Scots women unsure whether to claim as a group or an individual. It is vital though that they don’t panic and make sure they weigh up their options and seek expert, legal advice. Thompsons is working with a team of Advocates to produce a robust legal opinion which will help us decide what is best for each of our clients. Every decision we make will be on a case by case basis taking into consideration the facts, the legal situation and individual circumstances. I would urge anyone who has yet to take legal advice to get in touch with us. Thompsons acts for the majority of Scottish women affected by the PIP scandal and has been immersed in the campaign to seek justice for the victims. This means we can offer everyone the benefit of our experience and knowledge on this issue. No matter what route women take whether it’s with the GLO or individually they need legal representation.

With the deadline looming it would be easy to feel pressured into making a decision but it’s important to remember there is still time. Now is definitely not the time to panic.

Anyone who has been affected by the PIP scandal can call Thompsons free legal helpline on 0800 089 2050 for help and advice on making a claim.

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