Can I claim for pleural plaques if I live in England or Wales?

Older man looking to camera

In 2007, the House of Lords ended victim’s right to pleural plaques compensation in England and Wales because it is a symptomless condition. However, this condition does merit compensation according to the law of Scotland.

This means anyone exposed to asbestos working in Scotland and later diagnosed with an asbestos disease, regardless of where they were living at the time, could still access compensation through Scottish Courts.

Well, this was until a case in the Court of Session in Edinburgh when Lord Tyre decided that the law of the country in which the individual lives at the time of their diagnosis, is the law that should govern what, if any, compensation should be paid.

What does this mean? If a person is exposed to asbestos in Scotland but diagnosed with pleural plaques in England or Wales, English law would apply to the case and they would not be entitled to compensation.

However, if their workmate was diagnosed with pleural plaques and still lived in Scotland, Scottish law would apply and they would receive compensation.

This decision results in a clear injustice and was later appealed. On 22nd August, the Inner House of the Court of Session overturned Lord Tyre’s decision.

They held that the law of the country where the asbestos exposure occurred (i.e. Scotland) should apply to the case and the outcome of a claim.

This means that anyone exposed to asbestos in Scotland but diagnosed elsewhere can still recover damages for pleural plaques, and families of those diagnosed with fatal asbestos conditions can continue to seek damages under Scots law which are significantly greater than in England or Wales.

Common sense prevails…

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Fraser Simpson

Fraser Simpson,
Head of Industrial Disease