Quoted from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-16033887
Legislation due on asbestos-related pleural plaques
December 5, 2011
People suffering from the asbestos-related lung condition pleural plaques will be able to seek compensation from next week due to new legislation.
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said the legislation to allow workers to pursue claims would become effective from 14 December.
The executive has already set aside £2.5m for claims.
The legislation reverses a House of Lords decision of 2007 which ruled victims could not claim compensation.
Similar legislation in Scotland was the subject of a long-running challenge initiated by insurers, which went before the UK Supreme Court.
On 12 October this year, the Supreme Court rejected the insurers’ claims that the legislation infringed their human rights and was outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
“The challenge to the corresponding legislation in Scotland cast a long shadow and I fought hard to get the Northern Ireland legislation through the assembly and submitted for royal assent,” Mr Wilson said.
“However, I always believed that the policy objectives of the act were just and fair and that belief has now been vindicated by the ruling of the UK Supreme Court in relation to the Scottish legislation.
“The 2011 act may be short and targeted, but it is a vitally important act, which seeks to ensure the continued availability of a method of redress for ordinary working men and women.”
Pleural plaques – small areas of benign scarring on the lungs- are not themselves a disease and have no symptoms, but the thickening of lung membranes is an indicator of past exposure to asbestos.
They signify an increased risk of developing the disease mesothelioma.