Insurers have been accused of attempting to "sideline their responsibility" in challenging compensation payments to pleural plaque victims.

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers chief executive Colin Ettinger said: "This is just another example of insurers trying to wriggle out of paying fair compensation."

Pleural plaques are small flat discs that form on the pleura, the lubricated double membrane between the lungs and ribcage as a result of asbestos exposure which causes no other asbestos related condition.

The test case into compensation is being held in Manchester.

The insurers involved in the case include Norwich Union, Zurich, QBE and British Shipbuilders.

Under the current rules, successful pleural plaques claimants are typically awarded £5,000 in provisional damages.