Robert Weir QC wins asbestos case in Court of Appeal

Robert Weir QC acted for Mr Chandler who had been exposed to asbestos dust at work over a period from 1959 to 1962 and went on to contract asbestosis. He brought a claim against the parent company of his employer on the basis that it owed Mr Chandler, as an employee of its subsidiary, a duty of care which it breached. Mr Chandler won in the High Court, this being the first case in which an employee had established such a duty of care at trial. In Chandler v Cape plc [2012] EWCA Civ 525, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment, recognising "in appropriate circumstances the law may impose on a parent company responsibility for the health and safety of its subsidiary's employees". The way is now open for applying this ruling in a host of other cases, not just in the asbestos field, where the employer cannot be sued or where there is no point in suing the employer - in this case, its insurer had an exclusion clause covering the injury in question; in multi-national cases, jurisdiction sometimes can be obtained only against the parent company.

Robert Weir QC was instructed by Leigh Day & Co.

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