British Coal group action win for widow in claim 25 years out of time

In Pearce v Secretary of State [2018] EWHC 2009 (QB), Turner J had to determine the issue of liability in the British Coal Coke Oven group litigation.

By the time of the trial, 6 of the 8 lead claimants’ cases had been resolved and many of the issues arising in the 2 remaining lead cases had been compromised.  Turner J had to decide whether Mr Nicholls, who had worked up to 1985, had suffered from chronic bronchitis and whether to permit his widow to rely on s.33 of the Limitation Act 1980.  It was common ground that the limitation period had started to run in 1983/1985 and that the limitation clock did not stop until 2014.   Turner J found that Mr Nicholls had suffered from chronic bronchitis and permitted C’s application to disapply s.33.   In the other case, the claimant’s evidence was rejected.

Rob Weir QC acted on behalf of the claimants with Ivan Bowley of Lincoln House Chambers, instructed by Hugh James and Irwin Mitchell solicitors.

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