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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Lords uphold absestos claims
Workerr takes oxygen
Many shipyard workers were exposed to asbestos
Scottish victims of asbestos-related disease have been heartened by a ruling on three test cases.

The House of Lords has decided that victims should be compensated by a number of companies even though it is not possible to say which was the source of the fatal fibre.

The Law Lords considered one case brought by a man who has mesothelioma and two others from widows whose husbands died of the disease.

More than 1,800 people have died from asbestos related illnesses in Scotland and Clydebank, where thousands once worked in shipyards, has the highest death rate from asbestos poisoning in the UK.

It affects all the communities right across the west of Scotland, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Frank Maguire

Mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lung or abdomen. It can cause a great deal of pain, and responds poorly to surgery and therapies.

Frank Maguire, of Glasgow employment specialists Thompsons, believes that 5,000 ex-shipyard workers in Scotland will die in the next 10 years because of their previous exposure to asbestos.

'Rectify situation'

Before the lords' ruling, Mr Maguire said he believed that the victims had an excellent case.

He suggested that clarification was needed to end the "ridiculous situation" that a number of employers were negligent but were not liable.

"It is a terrible situation where you have the same insurance company, insuring three employers saying it was not any of them," Mr McGuire said.

A lung x-ray
Mesothelioma attacks the lining of the lung

He had 550 cases in the Court of Session in Edinburgh awaiting the outcome of Thursday's judgement, with hundreds more in the future.

"These cases are terrible cases. Mesothelioma is a very virulent and painful disease.

"It affects all the communities right across the west of Scotland, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee."

He said there was a petition before parliament to reform the Court of Sessions' civil procedures to ensure that those awarded compensation received payment as quickly as possible.

Lawyer Frank Maguire
"This mesothelioma that people get is a very virulent and painful disease"
See also:

27 Apr 01 | Health
Asbestos death toll rises
07 May 02 | A-B
Asbestos disease
07 May 02 | Health
Asbestos victim: My fight
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