The House of Lords has just handed down its decision in Fairchild, the mesothelioma test case.
The issue was whether employees who had developed mesothelioma from inhalation of asbestosis could bring a claim against various previous employers, when it was not clear (and, on current medical knowledge, impossible to prove) which of several employers had been the employer at the time of inhalation of the asbestos.
The Court of Appeal had held that, because it could not be said on balance of probabilities whether a particular employer was responsible, the claims must fail against all employers.
The House of Lords has reversed this, and permitted the claims to succeed. The basis of their decision is not yet known (a press release has been issued, but the judgment is not publicly available). It should become available later today, probably on the House of Lords website at http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199697/ldjudgmt/ldjudgmt.htm
Thursday, 16 May 2002
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