Competence and Compensation

Brodies LLP reveal on their website the latest in their attempts (on behalf of the insurance industry) to have the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009 struck down by the courts as outwith the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

As their article correctly points out “An Act of the Scottish Parliament (ASP) is not law to the extent that it is outside that competence. … If an ASP is claimed to be outside the legislative competence of the Parliament this amounts to a devolution issue.”

What the article does not explain is why it should be outwith the powers of the Scottish Parliament to decide that exposing someone to asbestos so that abnormal growths appear on the lining of their lungs should be financially compensated. The industry reply that “pleural plaques are a good thing”. Even if that’s true, so what? Paying statutory damages where there’s no harm or damage is hardly without precedent (I can think of some examples in employment law).

So, pay up and shut up!

Posted on Absolvitor: Scots Law Online.

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