Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Asbestos dockers win right to sue

Lung x-ray
Test cases have previously been brought by dockers and their families

Former Liverpool dock workers with asbestos-related illnesses have been given the right to sue the government in a landmark ruling at the High Court.

Many dockers contracted illnesses - including cancer - while working on the docks in the 1950s and 60s.

Test cases have previously been brought by former docker Robert Thompson from Scarisbrick and Winifred Rice from Ormskirk, whose husband died in 2000.

The ruling means dockers and their families can now sue for compensation.

Judges at the High Court in London ordered the Department of Business and Enterprise - formerly the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - to pay compensation for asbestos-related diseases.

The claimants' legal representative Neil Fisher said: "Our clients have had to wait many years for their compensation as the government fought the case every step of the way.

"This decision will help other dockers and their families to bring claims for compensation without having to identify individual shipping companies, many of whom no longer exist."

Last year the High Court ruled the DTI was responsible for dockers' safety in the 1950s and 60s.

The DTI appealed to try to block compensation claims, but lost the case.



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SEE ALSO
Dockers compensation claim upheld
04 Apr 07 |  Lancashire
Asbestos pay-out fight continues
13 May 06 |  Scotland
Widow's asbestos ruling 'dismay'
03 May 06 |  North East Wales
Asbestos deaths memorial unveiled
27 Apr 06 |  Manchester

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