On Friday 21 November the High Court is expected to publish its keenly awaited decision in the asbestos employers' liability "trigger" test cases, which will decide which employers' liability policies should respond to asbestos claims. The Court is likely to determine the point when mesothelioma is sustained, a decision which may have major implications for the insurance market and for potential asbestos claimants (see previous blog by clicking here).
As we await the Court's decision, the public has been reminded that the danger posed by asbestos is still live. The Health and Safety Executive is running a campaign, targeted especially at workmen, reminding them to protect themselves against the asbestos "hidden killer", warning that twenty tradesmen die from asbestos related diseases every week (click here to see the HSE website).
Meanwhile, fears have been expressed about the continuing presence of asbestos in public buildings, including schools and hospitals, and the risk posed to pupils, patients and staff. In October, the famous London department store Selfridges was forced to close its window displays to allow asbestos removal, and there are plans to evacuate the Houses of Parliament in 2012 to allow asbestos to be removed.
In December the Scottish Parliament will proceed with the next stage of passing its Bill reversing the decision of the House of Lords that pleural plaques are not compensatable injuries, after the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament supported the Bill (see previous blog by clicking here). The Ministry of Justice is expected soon to announce its intentions in relation to the legal position in England and Wales after its consultation on the subject closed in October.