(709)  SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT TO ACT ON PLEURAL PLAQUES

 

The Scottish Government has decided to bring a Bill before the Scottish Parliament to reverse the House of Lords decision that pleural plaques do not constitute actionable damage in negligence (see previously No 691 and http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2007/11/29102156 for the relevant press release dated 29 November 2007).  When enacted, the measure will have retrospective effect from the date of the House of Lords judgment (17 October).  This will make Scots law different from that of England & Wales, where the UK Government has decided to take no such action.  It is not yet clear when the Bill will be put to the Scottish Parliament.  Scots Law News noted with interest a BBC interview with Frank Maguire, solicitor for many of the prospective beneficiaries of the Scottish Government’s decision, in which he conceded that the damages any individual would get as a result would not be high; his own guesstimate of £6,000-£10,000 seemed a little high to this listener, given that what is being compensated is a state of anxiety and depression on which per se, traditionally, the law of delict has placed little if any value.  The precedents before the House of Lords decision, in which sometimes recovery was allowed in respect of pleural plaques, generally involved other elements beyond the plaques and anxiety, and so may not provide the best guide to the likely tariff after the Bill is passed. 

 

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