Supreme Court hears asbestos cases06th December 2011
The Supreme Court will hear six separate test case actions over eight days, brought forward by the victims of asbestos-related cancer and their families.
Lawyers representing the claimants said the reason behind bringing the cases to the judges is to try and get some clarity on this area of law with regards to damages.
A Court of Appeal ruling in 2010 found that only some sufferers could recover damages for injuries sustained decades ago at work.
Asbestos exposure in the workplace can lead to fatal lung disease mesothelioma, the symptoms of which can sometimes take 50 to 60 years to emerge.
The Supreme Court proceedings will focus on the debate regarding at what point liability for exposure should be activated.
In 2008, the High Court ruled that employers’ insurers were liable for damages at the time of workplace asbestos exposure for proceeding claims for mesothelioma.
However, the appeal court judges were unable to agree on the ruling, causing the victims and their families to come to the Supreme Court.
The Appeal Court had said that in some cases the onus lay with the insurers when symptoms first began to show and not the employers.
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