In Bussey v Anglia Heating ( EWCA Civ.243, 22 February 2018), the Court of Appeal looked at asbestos exposure levels sufficient to found liability for causing mesothelioma. Mr Bussey had developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure while employed by the defendant as a plumber from 1965 to 1968. The issue was whether, given the relatively low level of exposure and the state of knowledge in the late 1960s, the defendant was under a duty to take protective measures.
Author Archives: Richard Hopley
English law has developed a body of principles to address the particular problems posed by mesothelioma. This special area of law is known as the “Fairchild enclave”, a reference to the House of Lords decision in 2002. The Court has adopted a modified test for causation, but the claimant still has to prove that the defendant was negligent and/or in breach of duty. Where a claimant is unable to rely upon a breach of statutory duty, this question usually involves an analysis of the level of exposure and available knowledge of the risks. The recent High Court decision in Bussey v Anglia Heating (12 May 2017) reviewed this issue in the context of low-level, infrequent exposure.
In Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks Ltd & Ors  EWCA Civ 86, the Court of Appeal considered whether the Fairchild exception should be applied in a case of multiple exposures to asbestos leading to lung cancer. Like mesothelioma, lung cancer is regarded as an “indivisible” disease – the severity does not depend upon the exposure to asbestos.