Leading Asbestos Solicitor Voices Concern Over 'Postcode Lottery' for Asbestos Sufferers

A leading Asbestos solicitor today voiced incredulity at a justice apartheid evolving between Scotland and England.

29.11.2007

This follows a decision by the Scottish Parliament to overturn the House of Lords decision in the cases of Pleural Plaques sufferers who were denied compensation by the UK's highest court in October this year.

Adrian Budgen, a Partner and asbestos solicitor with law firm Irwin Mitchell, said "Whilst this is very good news for Scottish asbestos victims I am deeply dismayed that the Government will not acknowledge the Lords decision as a massive injustice to hard working and innocent victims of this deadly material.

"This decision from the Scottish Parliament for Pleural Plaques sufferers is a triumph for common sense and for those people negligently exposed to Asbestos in Scotland. We have already witnessed an inequality in the quality of healthcare provision through the cancer drug postcode lottery between England and Scotland, with many cancer sufferers choosing to move to Scotland to gain access to life giving and saving drugs.

"We are now seeing such a discrepancy between Scotland and England in terms of the access to justice for asbestos victims living only miles apart within the UK."

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill unveiled plans today that would reverse the effect of the Lords ruling.

The Lords ruling triggered anger among unions and employment lawyers who said it removed an established right to compensation.

Mr MacAskill said today: "The effects of asbestos are a terrible legacy of Scotland's industrial past and we should not turn our backs on those who contributed to our nation's wealth in the past."

The minister went on: "Pleural plaques in anyone exposed to asbestos mean they have a greatly increased lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma and a small but significantly increased risk of developing bronchial carcinoma.

"This will mean that people diagnosed with this condition will have to live with the worry of possible future ill health for the rest of their lives.

"That is why this Scottish Government is to take steps to reverse the House of Lords judgment and ensure that people with pleural plaques can continue to raise an action for damages.

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