Two identical bills are proceeding through Parliament in an attempt to permit compensation for asymptomatic pleural plaques. In the case of Johnston v NEI International Combustion [2007] UKHL 39, the House of Lords held that such pleural plaque claims were not compensatable under the current laws. Since then, Scotland has introduced the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009 (previously reported here) which overturned the decision in Scotland. The current bills attempt to follow Scotland's lead.

Mr Michael Wills (the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice) explained during the House of Commons debate that the Government was still assessing what its "response should be on pleural plaques and the wider issues affecting those suffering from asbestos-related diseases." He then continued by saying that it was "not possible today to give a firm indication of what the Government's ultimate position on the Bill will be. However, on that basis I can confirm that I am content for the Bill to proceed today."

We will continue to monitor the progress of these bills.