Ayrshire Lawyer Welcomes Scottish Parliament's New Asbestos Law
Submitted by: Fame Publicity Services
Ayrshire, Scotland (OPENPRESS) March 16, 2009 -- A leading Ayrshire lawyer has welcomed the passing of a new law by the Scottish Parliament which will mean that people negligently exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with pleural plaques will continue to be able to raise an action for damages.
The Scottish Parliament has passed the Scottish Government's Damages (Asbestos-related conditions) (Scotland) Bill, ensuring that a contrary House of Lords judgement will not have effect in Scotland.
Norman Geddes is senior partner at the Accident and Injury Claims Centre and Frazer Coogans Solicitors in Ayr.
In October 2007, he expressed his disappointment at the House of Lords judgement blocking compensation for pleural plaques, an asbestos-related lung condition that accounts for as many as 75 per cent of all asbestos claims in the UK.
He said at the time: "It is disappointing that the House of Lords has ruled that people with pleural plaques shouldn't be awarded compensation. The condition of pleural plaques, which causes thickening of the lung membranes, clearly indicates the presence of asbestos fibres in the lungs, and can lead to clinical depression caused by anxiety over that asbestos, which may in turn cause life-threatening illnesses to develop later.
"However, it is important to stress that, in spite of this ruling, people with mesothelioma, a malignant tumour in lung tissue caused by exposure to asbestos, are still entitled to receive compensation."
"This judgement can only cause further anxiety for people who are already living with the knowledge that their lungs have been irreparably scarred by asbestos, but who have not yet developed an even more serious condition. The Scottish Government must enact legislation urgently to remedy this most unjust situation."
For over two decades, it had been accepted that pleural plaques constitute an injury for which damages are recoverable in civil law. However, a series of cases were contested by insurers, and on 17 October 2007 the House of Lords ruled that pleural plaques do not merit compensation in tort law (the English equivalent of Scots delict). While restricted to England and Wales and not binding in Scotland, the judgement would be considered as highly persuasive by the Scottish courts.
In November 2007 the Scottish Government announced that it intended to ensure that the judgement did not have effect in Scotland. In June 2008, after a period of consultation, the Scottish Government introduced the Damages (Asbestos-related conditions) (Scotland) Bill, to ensure that - despite the House of Lords judgement - pleural plaques and other asymptomatic asbestos-related conditions remain actionable.
The Bill was scrutinised by the Justice Committee and, in November 2008, was endorsed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament. At that time the Scottish Government agreed to review the financial implications of the Bill and, after further consultation and analysis, in February 2009 revised financial estimates were presented to the Justice Committee.
Commenting on the passing of the new Bill, Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing said: "Many Scots in the past contributed to our nation's wealth, working in industries such as ship building and construction. Some were not properly protected against exposure to the potentially lethal substance of asbestos.
"We have a moral duty to ensure that those who suffer the effects of asbestos due to our industrial past should be able to claim for damages.
"The Parliament has today agreed that the House of Lords judgement which denied compensation for pleural plaques in England should not have effect in Scotland. I welcome that decision."
Norman Geddes concluded: "The Scottish Parliament is to be commended for this unprecedented initiative. The fact that party politics were set aside to permit a unanimous endorsement of this change in the law is notable and refreshing. Scots Law can now continue to provide the protection to our citizens for which it is renowned."
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ABOUT FRAZER COOGANS SOLICITORS
Ayrshire solicitors Frazer Coogans have expanded rapidly from small beginnings in the 1980s to offer a friendly and personal service to all clients from their modern premises in Ayr town centre. From their Ayr base, partners Norman Geddes, Austin Thomson and Lauren Fowler - all experienced solicitors - along with their professional and dedicated staff, provide a comprehensive suite of legal services to Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland and the UK, with particular expertise in accident claims, personal injury damages, property conveyancing, divorce and family law, wills, estates and executries.
Frazer Coogans' Ayr office operates a specialist Accident Claims & Personal Injury Damages Centre to assist clients in making claims for personal injury damages after road traffic, workplace, slip and trip accidents and also in criminal injuries compensation. This Ayrshire firm of solicitors has also established a significant presence in Scotland's property conveyancing market, advising clients on all aspects of buying, selling and leasing premises both domestic and commercial, and handling property conveyancing for diverse clients across Scotland.
Scottish divorce and family law is another area in which Frazer Coogans solicitors possess particular expertise, advising on the legal, financial and child related issues associated with divorce, providing negotiation for amicable settlement and undertaking litigation where needed. Frazer Coogans solicitors also offer a professional, dedicated and sympathetic service for wills and estates in the UK, including the administration of estates and appointing executors.
In 2003 Frazer Coogans successfully attained the "Investors in People" standard.
The firm is fully computerised with Broadband connection. It occupies modern premises in the centre of Ayr with adjacent parking for clients and wheelchair-friendly access.
Accident & Injury Claims Centre
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
46 Dalblair Road
Ayr KA7 1UQ
THE ELITE AYRSHIRE BUSINESS CIRCLE
The Accident and Injury Claims Centre and Frazer Coogans Solicitors are founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.
Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of industry, commerce and business services available within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.
Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel and South Ayrshire Council. and member company activities include building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.
For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle:
South Ayrshire Council http://www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk
Clydesdale Bank http://www.cbonline.co.uk
Ayr Racecourse http://www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk
Western House Hotel http://www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk/hotel.html
CKD Galbraith Property Consultants http://www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk
Frazer Coogans Solicitors http://www.frazercoogans.co.uk
Accident & Injury Claims Centre http://www.accidentclaims.com
MacKay Corporate Insurance Brokers http://www.mackaycorporate-brokers.com
Donald Ross Estate Agents: http://www.donaldross.co.uk
William Skinner & Son Building Contractors http://www.williamskinner.co.uk
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants http://www.sinclairscott.com
Paligap Creative Agency http://www.paligap.com
ARP Lorimer & Associates Architects http://www.arpl.co.uk
Brunston Castle Golf Club http://www.brunstoncastle.co.uk
Fouters Restaurant http://www.fouters.co.uk
Christie Financial Planning Ltd http://www.christiefp.com
Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors http://www.alwsurveyors.com
Kestrel Press http://www.kestrelpress.com
Fame Publicity Services Public Relations Consultancy http://www.famepublicity.co.uk
Easton Kitchens & Bathrooms