Northern Ireland is to follow in the footsteps of Scotland in a breakthrough ruling on pleural plaques claims, a story we posted a report on here, just one week ago.

The presence of pleural plaques – raised fibrous scarring of the lungs – is always an indication of exposure to asbestos having, invariably, occurred in the workplace. The unusually long latency period of between 15 – 50 years from first exposure to asbestos fibres and the appearance of asbestosis symptoms, often means an extremely limited survival prognosis for malignant mesothelioma cancer.

Since 2007, when the House of Lords ruled that mesothelioma compensation was no longer to be awarded to individuals diagnosed with pleural plaques, the Damages Act, introduced in 2009 by Scotland, has been rigorously argued against by a number of insurance companies claiming it breached certain provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In August 2011, the Ministry of Justice also introduced a special payment Scheme which allowed one-off payments of £5,000 to be awarded to those individuals in the unique circumstances of having already begun, but not resolved, a legal claim for pleural plaques compensation before the House of Lords 2007 ruling.

Following the Supreme Court finding in favour of the Scottish Parliament ruling, which stated, ” It could not be said that … judgment was without reasonable foundation”, the many hundreds of victims of exposure to asbestos living in Northern Ireland will also be able to proceed with pursuing a mesothelioma claim for the presence of pleural plaques. Click here to read more about the change of law in Northern Ireland.