Ian McFall is head of asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors and has a reputation as one of the country’s leading experts in the field. Based in Thompsons’ Newcastle office, he has more than 30 years’ experience of dealing with cases involving mesothelioma.

Ian is a member a member of Thompsons’ supervisory board and shares responsibility with the CEO for managing the firm’s relationship with Unite head office legal department and the union’s regional offices.

Ian’s leadership of asbestos litigation involves developing policy on litigation strategy, compensation and campaign initiatives. He works closely with trade unions, asbestos victim support groups and the teams of dedicated lawyers in Thompsons’ offices all over the UK who specialise in handling asbestos cases. 

The services of the specialist asbestos team at Thompsons are retained by major trade unions and asbestos victim support groups whose members have been affected by asbestos disease.

Prior to becoming the head of the asbestos litigation team, Ian dealt with hundreds of successful asbestos-related cases across the North East of England from Thompsons Solicitors' Newcastle office including mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening.

Ian finds it rewarding to be part of a “uniquely well-resourced team” at Thompsons, leading legal challenges and attacking the selfish interests of big business. He sees his mission as protecting and advancing the rights of the working class and organising and pursuing social justice campaigns. He regards it as a privilege to represent and promote the collective principles of trade unionism. “Otherwise I wouldn’t even bother thinking about being a solicitor,” he says. 

Outside work Ian reads widely. Among his favourites are Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, William S. Burroughs and Seamus Heaney. He likes to listen to his extensive collection of music on vinyl and he also likes a drink and good conversation. 



Ian has been involved in most of the landmark asbestos cases in British courts including:

The successful mesothelioma “trigger issue” test case in the Supreme Court in 2012. The ruling provided clear rules governing the way in which Employers’ Liability (EL) insurances should respond to mesothelioma claims.

The Barker and Others test case in the House of Lords in 2006 which led to legislation benefiting thousands of mesothelioma sufferers.

The pleural plaques test litigation in the High Court in 2005, the Court of Appeal in 2006 , the House of Lords in 2007 and a subsequent political campaign by trade unions and Thompsons Solicitors which resulted in the Ministry of Justice introducing the pleural plaques extra-statutory scheme in England and Wales.



Ian is proud to be a Patron of The Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund, which has raised more than £1 million to fund crucial research projects, improve diagnosis, treatment and care for mesothelioma sufferers and raise awareness of asbestos disease.



Legal 500 reported that an insurer’s solicitor described him as a “formidable opponent”.

Referring to compensation received on behalf of her late husband, Maureen Harrison said: “I have received a cheque for the sum of £145,000. I wish to thank you very much for the hard work and determination you have showed during the last four years while this case has been ongoing, and I know my late husband would have been very grateful for your services.”

From Joyce Bell: “You have given me a result beyond what would have been possible for me. The anger will never leave me, but I can now give my daughter and son some of the security their father would have wished for them.”

Frances Dodds: “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the compensation I’ve received. I think you did a wonderful job for myself and my family. It’s going to take quite a bit of getting used to, as I’ve not had a bank account before. I’m taking your advice about seeing a financial adviser.”

J.W. Monte: “Just a line to thank you for your efforts on my behalf. It is gratifying to know that these companies without morality or principles in running their business can now be brought to account. Without the likes of you, people would still be working in conditions with a total disregard to health and safety of their employees by these companies.”

Elizabth Howlett: “I greatly appreciate all you did in the way you dealt with Bill’s claim. I couldn’t have wished for better care and consideration you gave to Bill and me and I’m only very sorry that my beloved husband isn’t here to thank you and all your staff himself.”

Andy and Cilla Thomson: “Thank you Ian for all your hard and dedicated work on my behalf in achieving a settlement that you did. My wife and I appreciate all you did for us and although it can’t compensate for a life, it’s better in my bank account than the insurer’s coffers.”