Court of Appeal upholds asbestos liability ruling

The Court of Appeal has recently dismissed an appeal by J M Roberts Ltd (now part of T & N, Britain's largest asbestos producer) against last year's High Court decision which held it liable in negligence for exposing two non-employees to asbestos from a factory in the 1930s (ENDS Report 251, p 40 ). Much of the case turned on the extent to which such exposure could be predicted to cause physical injury by the standards of knowledge at the time, and the Court was prepared to take a fairly tough line. The decision will therefore be of concern to companies and their insurers over their historical liabilities. But while there are some 30 similar cases in the pipeline, the Court of Appeal made it clear that its ruling should not be seen as a test case which would preempt findings in other claims.

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