Author Archives: Richard Hopley

High Court revisits the question of the breach of duty of care in relation to mesothelioma

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.

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Court of Appeal considers application of Fairchild test in asbestos-induced lung cancer cases

In Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks Ltd &  Ors [2016] 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.

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