Ruling backs right to claim compensation for condition in Scotland

The Supreme Court has backed the Scottish Parliament in its long running fight with the insurance industry over whether pleural plaque sufferers are entitled to compensation for the condition.

 The court has ruled that the Holyrood Parliament acted within its powers in passing the Damages (Asbestos Related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009 that made pleural plaques compensatable in Scotland.

The court was ruling on a bid by insurers to rule that the act, which over-rules north of the border an earlier House of Lords ruling that pleural plaque sufferers are not entitled to compensation, is illegal.

The act allows sufferers of pleural plaques, which form on the lung membrane as a result of exposure to asbestos but cause no ill-effects, to claim compensation.

Responding to the ruling, ABI director of general insurance and health Nick Starling said:

 “Insurers remain fully committed to continuing to pay compensation to people with asbestos-related conditions, such as mesothelioma.

“The insurers brought this case because they believe that The Damages Act is fundamentally flawed in that it ignores overwhelming medical evidence that pleural plaques are symptomless, and the well-established legal principle that compensation is payable only when there is physical harm. We are very disappointed that the Court has not found in our favour on this important principle of law.

“Insurers will now consider carefully this judgment and what it means for them.”