Asbestos Rights May Be Restored
People in Northern Ireland who suffer with pleural plaques as a result of exposure to asbestos could soon be able to claim compensation again.
The Executive is examining whether to reinstate the right, after a House of Lords ruling in 2007 said damages action could not be taken.
Responses to this ruling recommend that people who developed the condition due to negligence should be allowed to make a claim.
This would bring Northern Ireland in line with Scotland, which made pleural plaques an actionable personal injury in 2009. The right is yet to be restored in England and Wales.
Finance minister Sammy Wilson said: "The reinstatement of the right to claim compensation in negligence is, I believe, just and fair and will ensure that people in Northern Ireland have the same rights and protections as people in Scotland."
UCATT general secretary Alan Ritchie, added: "I am pleased that Northern Ireland has followed the decision in Scotland and will compensate victims of pleural plaques.
"The decision in Northern Ireland should place further pressure on the new Government to overturn the decision to bar compensation for pleural-plaques victims in England and Wales."
Pleural plaques are areas of fibrosis in the lung, caused by exposure to asbestos.
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Adrian Budgen, an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said: "This well illustrates the legal 'postcode lottery' that exists within the UK – it cannot be right that people with pleural plaques are treated so differently depending on where they were exposed to asbestos."