March 3rd, 2011


Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has welcomed a new law passed at the Scottish Parliament to end lengthy legal wrangling over damages claims.

The Damages (Scotland) Bill was passed with cross-party support and will improves right to damages in respect of personal injuries and wrongful death

The bill overhauls the current system and provides a fair level of compensation in cases of wrongful death without the need for unnecessarily long and distressing court cases.

On average, 30 people die each year in Scotland in workplace accidents. Between 1st January 2009 and 20th April 2010, 210 people with mesothelioma and 58 people with asbestos-related lung cancer sought assistance from ‘Clydeside Action on Asbestos.’

Mr McNeil said: “Unfortunately, a community like ours with a strong industrial heritage is well aware of the dangers that are present in the workplace.

“The Scottish Parliament has consistently stood up for the victims and their families and I am delighted that we have come together to act to speed up the legal process for damages.

“It is not acceptable that people who have suffered the tragic death of a loved one have to endure lengthy legal cases before they can begin to rebuild their lives.”

The bill was brought forward by Labour MSP Bill Butler.

 Annette Smith, of Clydeside Action on Asbestos, said: “We have backed these proposals from the outset and this act will be of very real benefit to hundreds of people each year.”

Joe O’Neill, Treasurer of Clydebank Asbestos Group, added: “Protracted legal proceedings have placed unnecessary strain on families and I am pleased that these changes ensure that justice can now be accessed as quickly as possible.”