The UK Supreme Court has shown their support for the rights of Scottish people to claim compensation for asbestos-related conditions.
Insurance companies had submitted a legal bid in the Court of Session to prevent Scottish people from claiming damages for injuries caused by asbestos. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal, arguing that it could not be said that the "judgment of the Scottish Parliament was without reasonable foundation."
The problem lay in the fact that pleural plaques are not considered a disease and present no symptoms; however, the thickening of lung membranes is an indicator of past asbestos exposure. As a result of these findings, the House of Lords ruled 5 years ago that victims could not claim compensation.
The Scottish Government disagreed with the House of Lords' ruling and passed the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) Act in 2009. Ministers believed that pleural plaques could cause more serious conditions, such as lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Insurance firms were against the legislation as they believed it infringed human rights laws. They argued that it broke European Convention on Human Rights provisions on property rights and constitutes unreasonable legal interference.
The likely cost of claims is estimated to be in the region of £7m and £9m.