The issue in these cases is which insurer should pay for negligent exposure to asbestos leading to mesothelioma. The insurer for the employer at the time of the negligent exposure has always been held liable to pay.

Insurers are now arguing that the liable insurers should be the one in force at the time the claimant develops symptoms. In the case of mesothelioma, this can be decades later than the exposure. By then, companies are often defunct and there are no insurers to pay damages.

The implications of this argument could stretch to all “long-tail” disease cases.

A number of test cases will be heard in the High Court between June and August 2008. Only one is backed by a trade union, namely Edwards -v- Excess Insurance Company Limited.

We secured judgment on 20 July 2007 at the Liverpool County Court for £111,892.91 for the estate and dependents of a mesothelioma victim. The insurance company concerned has declined to pay damages as a result of the “trigger issue”.

We are trying to enforce rights under the Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act.

Edwards -v- Humphreys & Glasgow Ltd, 20 July 2007, Liverpool CC

Scottish government to overturn Lords’ decision on pleural plaques

After campaigning by, among others, Thompsons Scotland, the Scottish Government is legislating to reverse the effect of that decision for victims of pleural plaques.