Asbestos relatives win ruling

Relatives of workers who died of an asbestos-related cancer have won a compensation fight at the Supreme Court.

This means that employers' insurers are likely to have to pay out on policies from the late 1940s to the late 1990s.

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Insurance firm welcomes 'clarity' over asbestos ruling

Municipal Mutual Insurance is one of four insurance firms involved in the asbestos legal action. In a statement it said:

Whilst the ruling does not reflect MMI's favoured outcome, we welcome the clarity this judgment brings as it enables MMI to determine the extent of its liabilities... It should be noted that MMI has continued to compensate local authority employers for mesothelioma claims, despite not being obliged to pay out claims until the outcome of the case was known.

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'Mixed emotions' after asbestos ruling

Leslie Screach died in 2003 after being exposed to asbestos fibres. Today his daughter Ruth Durham said she still had mixed emotions:

I am delighted to hear of the court's decision which will now see justice done for my father and the other mesothelioma sufferers. I was determined to see this through with a positive outcome for all those who, like my dad, suffered so terribly because of someone else's negligence. I miss him every day and no sum of money will ever bring him back or make up for what he went through.

Asbestos ruling provides 'clarity and comfort'

Lawyer Helen Ashton said today's ruling provided "clarity and comfort" for families of mesothelioma victims. She represented the lead claimant in the case:

As well as the people currently directly affected by asbestos related disease, this judgment means that the thousands of people who are yet to be given the devastating news that they have the deadly illness will at least know that their families can get access to justice and receive the financial security they need. But the sad fact is that many victims of mesothelioma who have been awaiting the outcome of this appeal may not have lived long enough to know if their families will now receive the compensation they deserve.

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'Long battle' ends for families of asbestos victims

All I ever prayed for was the right decision. This is the right decision. I am delighted for all those families who have been awaiting this result. My dad worked all his life and was hoping to enjoy retirement before mesothelioma took him away. There was never any question about who was to blame - all this long battle was about was insurers wanting to get out of paying. It is very difficult for us to understand the insurance industry's attitude to dying people, an attitude that the Government is going to make worse.

– Maureen Edwards, daughter of Charles O'Farrell who died in 2003

Union welcomes 'landmark' asbestos ruling

This is a landmark ruling which will affect thousands of victims of asbestos. It is a disgrace that insurance companies went to such lengths to shirk their responsibilities. For callous insurers this means the responsibility holiday is over. Unite fought this case to the highest court to get justice for Charles, his family and all victims of asbestos. Justice for ordinary people and the ability of trade unions to bring these cases won't be possible if the Government succeeds in slamming the door to justice with their legal aid bill.

– Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary
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