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Introduction

The Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 23 June 2008. The Bill sought to ensure that a House of Lords Judgment did not have effect in Scotland and that people with pleural plaques caused by wrongful exposure to asbestos could raise an action for damages.  

Background

The House of Lords (HoL) decision in Johnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd published on 17 October 2007, ruled that asymptomatic pleural plaques (an asbestos-related condition) do not give rise to a cause of action because they do not signify damage or injury that is sufficiently material to found a claim for damages in tort. The Judgment is not binding in Scotland, but is highly persuasive. The equivalent cause of action in Scotland is “delict”: in a delictual action a person may claim civil damages against another person responsible for a wrongful act that has caused loss or injury. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the HoL Judgment does not have effect in Scotland and that people with pleural plaques caused by wrongful exposure to asbestos can raise an action for damages. As it is possible that the courts might look to Johnston as authority in relation to claims in respect of other asymptomatic asbestos-related conditions, the Bill also provided that asymptomatic pleural thickening and asymptomatic asbestosis, when caused by wrongful exposure to asbestos, continue to give rise to a claim for damages in Scotland.

Justice Committee - Stage 1 Scrutiny

Call for evidence

The Committee issued a call for written evidence. Submissions received can be found below.

Oral evidence

The Committee took evidence on the Bill at its meetings on 2 and 9 September 2008. Please follow the links below to the papers, official reports and minutes of the meetings.

  • 2 September 2008

Agenda and papers (148 KB pdf))

Official Report

Minutes

  • 9 September 2008

Agenda and papers (34 KB pdf)

Official Report

Minutes

  • 16 September 2008

Agenda and papers (181 KB pdf)

Minutes

Supplementary written evidence

Please follow the link below to supplementary submissions received.

Committee Report

The Committee published its report on 13 October 2008. Please follow the links below to the report and accompanying news release.

Correspondence

Further to the publication of the Committee's report, the Committee received copies of correspondence between Fergus Ewing MSP, the Minister for Community Safety and Bridget Prentice MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice in relation to the Bill. The letters are introduced by a letter from the Minister to the Convener. These letters can be found below.

Letters have also been received from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and from the Ministry of Defence. These letters can be found below.

Stage 1 debate

Chamber proceedings at Stage 1 (5 November 2008): Official Report and Minutes

Justice Committee - Stage 2 consideration

The Committee completed Stage 2 consideration of the Bill at its meeting on 2 December 2008.

2 December 2008 (Consideration of amendments)

The Bill passed Stage 2 on 2 December 2008. An 'As Amended' version of the Bill was not produced for this Stage as no amendments were lodged.

Stage 3 proceedings

Correspondence

The Bill passed Stage 3 on Wednesday 11 March 2009.

Correspondence

Contact: For specific information on the Bill, please contact Andrew Proudfoot, Assistant Clerk to the Committee, on 0131 348 5047 or email justice.committee@scottish.parliament.uk