A number of major insurance companies are challenging a relatively new Scottish asbestos law that allows victims of pleural plaques caused by exposure to asbestos to claim compensation. These pleural plaques are scarring and thickening of the lung membranes that can cause respiratory problems and which campaigners have argued can lead to the asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.

However, four of Britain’s major insurance firms, Aviva, AXA Insurance, RSA, and Zurich, have challenged the new law by requesting a judicial review of the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

A decision was made two years ago by the House of Lords on this issue, but this Act overturned this decision. The insurance giants are now arguing that pleural plaques cause no symptoms, are not dangerous, and do not lead to more serious problems such as cancer.

A government official said: “We are disappointed that this action to seek effectively to overturn the will of the Scottish Parliament has been taken. The insurance companies’ action may delay, but will not ultimately defeat, our resolve to defend the rights of people who have been negligently exposed to asbestos by their clients. We firmly believe that our legislation is right in principle and right in law.”

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