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Smokers in Britain get legal aid

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6976.349 (Published 11 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:349

Legal aid was granted last week for investigations that could lead to Britain's first mass legal action by smokers who blame tobacco manufacturers for shortening their lives. If the claim gets off the ground it could become the biggest lawsuit ever brought in Britain. Lawyers for 200 people with illnesses linked to tobacco were awarded funding to allow them to brief medical experts to investigate the strength of the case. If a queen's counsel backs the case and full legal aid is granted, lawyers predict that writs could be issued later this year.

The case is the first substantial claim to be brought against cigarette manufacturers in Britain. Legal aid has been granted in Northern Ireland for a man who lost a leg through Buerger's disease and in England …

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