Approval For Asbestos Law Change

Changes in the law which will make it easier for former shipyard workers to claim compensation for asbestos-related lung cancer will be approved later.

It will reverse a House of Lords ruling which made it impossible for victims to seek recompense without blocking claims by their families after their death.

Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust. It has been diagnosed in 400 men, most of them former Clydeside shipyard workers.

MSPs said Holyrood had acted humanely to address a specific Scottish problem. Scotland is leading the way in the UK on the change in the law, and is allowing claims from the beginning of this year.

Mesothelioma can lie dormant for 20 years or more but when it is diagnosed, victims usually have only months to live. During that time the families are often split over whether the victim himself should claim compensation while he is alive or whether he should leave it to his family to claim after his death. The new law will allow both claims to proceed at the same time.