Legislation Re-Opens Door for Pleural Plaques Sufferers

10 May 2012

After years of uncertainty for pleural plaques sufferers, they will once again be able to pursue compensation for their asbestos related injuries.

After years of uncertainty for pleural plaques sufferers, they will once again be able to pursue compensation for their asbestos related injuries. The NI Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has confirmed that new legislation, the Damages [Asbestos-related Conditions] Act [Northern Ireland] 2011 would become effective from 14th December 2011. This legislation reverses a House of Lords decision in 2007 in Johnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd [The Rothwell Decision], which ruled that symptomless pleural plaques were not an actionable injury as such and therefore not compensatable.

Similar legislation in Scotland was the subject of a long-running challenge initiated by Insurers, which was listed before the UK Supreme Court in June 2011. On 12th October this year, the Supreme Court rejected the insurers' claims that the legislation was outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

"The challenge to the corresponding legislation in Scotland cast a long shadow and I fought hard to get the Northern Ireland legislation through the assembly and submitted for royal assent," Mr Wilson said. "However, I always believed that the policy objectives of the act were just and fair and that belief has now been vindicated by the ruling of the UK Supreme Court in relation to the Scottish legislation… The 2011 act may be short and targeted, but it is a vitally important act, which seeks to ensure the continued availability of a method of redress for ordinary working men and women."

Pleural Plaques claims that have been on hold since 2006 should now be capable of pursuit and Worthingtons are delighted that the new legislation will allow those men who embarked on claims prior to the Rothwell decision to finally secure compensation.  Similarly anyone who has been diagnosed with plaques since 2006 should also be entitled to pursue compensation.

Contact Jon Duncan or Nikki McConnell from our Litigation team at Worthingtons Solicitors 028 9181 1538 and they will be happy to advise on how best to secure compensation for pleural plaques, pleural thickening or indeed any other asbestos related injury such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.

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