The Durham Miners’ Gala faces an uncertain future after organisers were handed a £2m legal bill.
Durham Miners’ Association has been told to pay out after a losing a compensation battle which leaves thousands of men with no payout for osteoarthritis of the knees.
Six years after losing their battle for justice, the DMA has been told to pay up.
That court-ordered bill, made after losing the battle with the Government, now means the DMA has to look again at all costs - including the hugely popular Durham Miners’ Gala.
Dave Hopper, general secretary, said, “Many of our members are severely disabled by this crippling industrial disease and we were desperately disappointed when a judge in the High Court refused allow their case to be heard.
“Lawyers on both sides agreed that the injuries to our members was caused by their work in the mines and we had compelling evidence that the National Coal Board knew that miners working in certain conditions and doing jobs which involved heavy lifting were at risk of developing this painful disease.
“We were confident that given the chance, our lawyers could have proved that the coal board were liable for the damage our members have suffered.
“We were so determined to get them the justice they deserve we appealed the Judges ruling in the Court of Appeal, but to no avail.
“It is a sad day for British justice when a judge can decide that men who have given a lifetime of service to the economy of the country can’t have their day in court.
“Paying this bill will have a serious effect on our finances, which means that our ability to continue with the Durham Miners’ Gala will depend largely on donations to The Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala.”