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Asbestos judicial review & Supreme Court cases

As well as helping you to bring a claim for compensation if you have been exposed to asbestos, the legal team at Leigh Day works closely with asbestos support groups and charities including the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK who represent all support groups in the UK. This includes looking at the human rights aspects of mesothelioma and asbestos disease claims, an aspect of our work that we believe is unique amongst law firms.

Human rights & asbestos

Since the firm was first formed it has fought many cases to defend the human rights of clients, and our asbestos clients are no exception. These include taking cases to the Supreme Court which only hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance.  In addition we have used the legal process called judicial review to protect the human rights of clients. Partner Harminder Bains has enjoyed unparalleled success with these challenges.

The cases have included challenges about:
  • preventing the destruction of vital historical documents and evidence disclosed by asbestos manufacturers in Court proceedings 
  • the real dangers surrounding products they made
  • to protect the financial position of mesothelioma clients and their rights to compensation. 

In addition we have protected the rights of victims of asbestos disease when these rights were at risk of being undermined as part of government consultations to reform mesothelioma claims. 

How do these cases help you if you have mesothelioma?

We believe that these cases have helped to preserve the rights of people suffering with asbestos-related diseases, and will continue to protect future claimants for many years. This continues to be our motivation for bringing these challenges. The majority of these cases are undertaken on a “pro-bono” basis, which basically means we do not recover any costs for the substantial work we do.

Examples of our Supreme Court cases & Judicial Reviews that we have undertaken to protect those suffering from asbestos diseases are:

Dring v Cape 2019

This case was heard in the Supreme Court. The Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum UK brought a case against the global asbestos manufacturing company, Cape Intermediate Holdings Ltd. The Forum is requesting that the Supreme Court order Cape to hand over its internal documents to the Forum.  These documents reveal the extent of the knowledge of the dangers of asbestos at the company.  These documents had been disclosed in an earlier case. Cape have argued that it should not hand over documents to a third party that was not involved in the original case. Our legal challenge followed Harminder Bains’ successful application for an injunction to halt the destruction of the documents which will be of great significance to other asbestos disease sufferers in the UK and abroad.

Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor 2015

In this case Harminder argued successfully that defendants in asbestos cases should pay legal costs such as success fees and ATE premiums, rather than the burden of these costs falling on the victims. 

Companies House

This was another important case about preventing the destruction of potentially important documents.  In 2016 Companies House announced that it was planning to destroy the records of companies that had been dissolved for longer than six years. We felt that this was a short-sighted and potentially prejudicial decision.  Company documents are critically important when trying to show how clients might have been exposed to asbestos at work many decades earlier. This course of action would have potentially prevented future claims from being pursued.  This decision was reversed following the threat of legal action by Harminder on behalf of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK.

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK 2015

A challenge brought by the Forum together with mesothelioma sufferers Ian Doughty and Carole Sloper, which prevented the Government’s proposal that victims of mesothelioma be charged around £10,000 to start court proceedings against defendants. 

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK 2014

An important Judicial Review which declared the Government’s plans to take up to 25% of cancer sufferers’ compensation to be unlawful. The proposals would have saved the insurance industry millions of pounds.  As a result we also assisted in obtaining the disclosure of documents that demonstrated there was collusion between the government and the insurance industry about the reforms. 

Data Protection Act case 2019

In this case Harminder Bains represented Dr Robin Rudd who is recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts in the science of asbestos-related diseases and who has for over 35 years given expert evidence in many cases in the UK in which clients have sought compensation for asbestos related diseases.  Dr Rudd brought a claim against John Bridle and J&S Bridle Limited.  Mr Bridle is an asbestos lobbyist who believes chrysotile and asbestos cement products are safe and do not cause asbestos diseases.  After a 3 day trial Dr Rudd was successful in his claim that he be provided with information and identities of those who communicated with Mr Bridle.  This is an important case, defending the reputation of a medical professional who presents information about the health of asbestos clients to the courts when they seek compensation for their illnesses.

Corporate espionage case 2018

In November 2018 a corporate intelligence agency, K2 Intelligence Ltd, agreed to pay substantial damages after Robert Moore was engaged by the agency to infiltrate and spy on anti-asbestos campaigners, including Harminder. K2’s clients included individuals involved in the Kazakhstan asbestos industry.

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