Legal aid for British US attack victims

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British victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre will receive free legal help in pursuing compensation claims, it was announced.

A number of law firms have signed up to a new initiative designed to speed up the compensation process and prevent unscrupulous lawyers from taking advantage of victims or their families.

The Trial Lawyers Care Initiative, which was unveiled today, has been negotiated with the backing of the White House and the US Attorney–General John Ashcroft.

It is part of the US Government's September 11 Compensation Act, which was announced by Congress shortly after the attacks.

Watford–based Collins Solicitors is the only British law firm so far to take part in the initiative, under which lawyers undertake to represent clients free of charge.

They have also agreed to deal with claims within 120 days of submission.

Desmond Collins, senior partner of Collins Solicitors, said: "It means that any British victims or their families who want legal support can come to us and we will ensure their interests are represented throughout."

The firm also acts for victims of the Southall and Paddington rail disasters. Victims or their relatives can contact them on 01923 223324.