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Supreme Court to hear Welsh asbestos case

Supreme Court to hear Welsh asbestos case

A legal dispute over asbestos payments will be heard by the Supreme Court.

Although a bill was passed by the Welsh Senedd to make it compulsory for firms to reimburse the NHS for the treatment of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer, there are doubts about its legality.

Counsel general Theodore Huckle GQ has asked the Supreme Court to test whether this could be applicable to common law in the nation, reports the BBC.

Judges at the London-based court will hear the case in February but it is unclear when they will hand down a verdict and whether it will be applied before the end of this parliamentary period.

The cost of treating mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos fibres lining the lungs and with the Welsh NHS facing service cuts, lawmakers have been keen to recover costs wherever possible.

Asbestos has been a particularly problematic issue for Wales due to its industrial heritage, meaning many older people are now having to be treated for terminal illnesses - costing the taxpayer millions of pounds per year.

By Francesca Witney