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Lawyer’s Disappointment At Government Plaques Decision

No Change To Law Lords Ruling On Pleural Plaques


A leading industrial illness lawyer says the Government’s decision has today left thousands of sufferers of an asbestos-related condition ‘out in the cold’.

However, she welcomed the commitment of £3million worth of investment into a research centre for fatal asbestos-related diseases.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced that he would not change a Law Lords ruling that prevents sufferers of pleural plaques – a scarring of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos – claiming compensation.

Sufferers of the condition were denied compensation following a House of Lords ruling in 2007, and the Government had been consulting on whether to overturning the ruling.

Alida Coates, an asbestos-related illness expert and Partner with law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said the decision was not only a blow to Plaques sufferers, but also that the Government had taken far too long to reach it.

“Victims and their families need help but all they have been given is three years of discussions. Now a decision has been reached and while it is encouraging for anybody whose condition pre-dates 2007, it leaves the rest out in the cold,” she said.

Coates said the investment in a research centre, which would provide support for sufferers of fatal asbestos-related conditions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, was more welcome news.

She said: “We have been campaigning for a National Centre for Asbestos-Related Diseases for years now and it is excellent news to see the Government is seriously attempting to provide support to sufferers of fatal asbestos-related conditions.

“However, as broadly welcome as this announcement is, the devil will, as always, be in the detail – it will be interesting to see how these plans develop, and how quickly. The development of this centre should be a matter of priority and sufferers of fatal asbestos-related diseases should not be made to wait any more for state support.

“It’s unacceptable that anyone should be left with a fatal illness because their health was not protected at work – and we will fight for justice for each and every one of our clients who are the victims of this dreadful disease.”