Governmust should follow Scottish Parliament lead

Claimant lawyers have called on the Government to overturn the House of Lords decision not to compensate victims of the asbestos-related condition, pleural plaques.

Martin Bare, immediate past president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) said the fact that the Scottish Parliament had already proposed legislation to overturn the decision would make it “inherently unfair” if Westminster did not follow the same path for victims in England and Wales.

“It is the House of Lords role to determine what the law is, but it is the Government’s job to decide what the law should be,” he said. “For the sake of those negligently exposed to asbestos, the Government should follow the Scottish Parliament’s lead and legislate to overturn the Lords’ decision.

“It’s all very well when victims are told the condition is harmless, but the fact that they have been negligently exposed to asbestos in the first place means they are playing a waiting game, wondering if they may be facing a death sentence,” said Bare.

The Government is consulting on how to compensate pleural plaques sufferers.

Bare said: “The Government has outlined two schemes in its consultation, both of which pose potential problems for victims. We feel very strongly that any scheme should not prevent victims from claiming compensation at a later date should their condition worsen. There should also be no time limit on when victims can make a claim, and any compensation awarded should be in line with what victims were awarded prior to the Lords’ decision."