The father of Maureen Edwards died of mesothelioma. Speaking after today's Supreme Court ruling she said no amount of money could compensate for such a 'horrendous death'.
– Maureen Edwards, daughter of Charles O'Farrell who died in 2003
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.
– Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary
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.
According to legal experts the ruling by Britain's highest court means that employers' insurers will have to pay compensation claims. Relatives of the victims want to make claims on policies from the late 1940s to the late 1990s. The legal fight began more than five years ago.
– Lord Clarke, The Supreme Court
The negligent exposure of an employee to asbestos during the policy (insurance) period has a sufficient causal link with subsequently arising mesothelioma to trigger the insurer's obligation.
Relatives of workers who died of an asbestos-related cancer have won a fight for compensation. The Supreme Court has ruled that insurance liability was "triggered" at the time mesothelioma victims were exposed to dust.
- Each year around 2,300 people are diagnosed in the UK
- Affects thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen
- Most common cause is exposure to asbestos
- Rare and has a poor prognosis because it is complicated to diagnose and treat
Specialist solicitor Helen Ashton, who works for law firm Irwin Mitchell, and is representing one of the lead claimants, said she hoped the Supreme Court could "provide clarity".
The litigation concerns the appropriate trigger for employers' liability insurance policies in relation to asbestos-related mesothelioma claims where the wording of the policy requires injury or disease to an employee to be 'sustained' or 'contracted' during the period of insurance.
The case is set to impact on thousands of mesothelioma claims in the future which, given the predicted number of cases to emerge, is estimated to be worth over £100 million to the insurers involved in the litigation."
Thousands of compensation claims by people whose relatives died after developing an asbestos-related cancer could be affected by a Supreme Court ruling today.
Mesothelioma victims' families asked the UK's highest court to clarify the law relating to insurance claims at a hearing in London in December.
Five Supreme Court justices, who were asked to consider whether liability was "triggered" at the time of exposure to asbestos or at the onset of symptoms, will deliver judgment in London.