COURT OF SESSION BACKS PARLIAMENT OVER WORKERS' RIGHT TO CLAIM COMPENSATION

Linda Fabiani has welcomed the decision of three Court of Session judges that protects the right to claim damages for victims of pleural plaques, an asbestos-related illness.

In the face of a challenge by the insurance industry, the judges decided to uphold a law brought in by the SNP Government following  a 2007  House of Lords decision in favour of the insurers.

The House of Lords ruled against claimants seeking damages for pleural plaques, a condition that results in scarring of the lungs.

If this decision had been allowed to stand, pleural plaques would have ceased to provide a ground for a claim for damages.

Such claims were being brought by workers, mainly from heavy industries, who contracted pleural plaques after exposure to asbestos.

At the initiative of the SNP Government, the parliament passed the Damages (Asbestos Related) (Scotland) Act, which had the effect of protecting Scottish workers from the impact of the House of Lords’ decision.

Companies in the insurance industry, especially those specialising in industrial injury protection, asked the Court of Session to declare this Act illegal.

Welcoming the court’s decision Linda Fabiani said:

“To its credit, the Scottish Government  acted quickly to address the problems caused by the House of Lords’ shameful decision.

“Kenny MacAskill was right to bring forward proposals to ensure that the ruling will no longer apply to Scottish claimants.

“Those who have been working with asbestos should have the right to seek compensation.  The courts must decide on a case-by-case basis the severity of the damage caused and award damages accordingly.

“The insurance industry was acting to protect the interests of shareholders instead of living up to their responsibilities to those affected by exposure to asbestos.”

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