Seven Judges at The Supreme Court said two families can keep compensation awarded by the courts for their loved ones deaths.
Both Dianne Willmore and Enid Costello died of mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer, having had small doses of asbestos dust.
Dianne was exposed whilst a pupil at her school and Mrs Costello during her work.
The Council and employers accepted they would have been negligent in allowing them to be exposed to asbestos.
All seven Law Lords said that the test as to whether or not a person should be compensated should remain as the ‘material contribution’ test and not a ‘doubling of the risk’ test as the Council and employers had suggested.
Even though medically, there is no minimum threshold dose of asbestos below which there is no risk of mesothelioma, the Law Lords had been invited to make a decision as to where the legal line should be drawn, what the legal threshold is.
This case is important for any persons who have small doses of asbestos exposure and get mesothelioma. It is also important for those who have had exposure in schools since it is the first case for a pupil.
Ruth Davies, Solicitor for Dianne Willmore’s husband Barre says:
‘Barre Wilmore is absolutely delighted about the result. He knows how pleased Dianne was knowing on her deathbed that her family would be provided for. He was relieved that she was unaware of this appeal. The compensation won’t bring Dianne back but will provide some solace.
These cases were another attack on asbestos disease victims. The defendants were trying to change the law that has been working perfectly well for many years so that fewer people who are dying can get properly compensated.’
Norman Jones, Solicitor for Enid Costello’s family says:
‘The dangers connected with asbestos exposure and the risks of mesothelioma have been known to employers since the early sixties when the Sunday Times made public the hazards of being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Employers were left in no doubt of the consequences of exposing their workforce to asbestos after reading this article. It would be manifestly unfair if the law had been changed to deny victims of one the worst fatal industrial diseases from receiving fair compensation’.
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