Newham asbestos victims gain landmark court ruling

A landmark court ruling may bring relief to Havering families fighting for compensation for relatives who suffered or died from asbestos-related cancer.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that insurance companies are liable for compensation payments where their client’s employees had been exposed to the deadly dust widely used in construction and insulation up until the 1960s.


As reported in the Recorder in February, Havering has the ninth highest rate in the UK for terminal asbestos cancer. Figures released from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) show that from 2006 to the end of 2010 the borough’s death rate for mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lung wall, was nearly double the national average.

The president of APIL, David Bott, said at the time: “More people die of mesothelioma in Havering per head of the population than in most parts of the country.

“This is bad enough but the number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak during the next five years.”

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has been among those campaigning for the ruling.

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He said: “I am absolutely thrilled that some justice has finally been served for those local families who have had to suffer the heartache of losing a loved one.

“It’s shameful that it has taken so long to get here.”

The landmark case was brought six years ago by 6,000 families from around the UK, all of whom are related to someone who died or is suffering from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos.

Insurers claimed that the employers’ liability was restricted to when the cancerous tumours started to develop, instead of when victims were exposed to the dust.”