A long-awaited appeal to the Law Lords to reinstate compensation for sufferers of asbestos related condition pleural plaques will be heard next week.

The House of Lords will hear arguments from Unite (Amicus section) and its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors during the week-long session starting on Monday, June 25.

Unite (Amicus section) are appealing against a Court of Appeal ruling made in March 2006, which stopped compensation being paid to those with pleural plaques.

The Court of Appeal overturned a previous decision by the High Court last year, where it was decided claimants with pleural plaques should continue to receive compensation.

The decision, unless overturned, means the end to an established right to compensation, which existed for 20 years, for pleural plaques, which are in almost every case caused by workers being exposed to asbestos due to negligence of their employers.

Increased Risk of Developing Mesothelioma or Asbestosis

Pleural plaques seldom causes immediate symptoms but are associated with an increased risk of developing fatal conditions like Mesothelioma or asbestosis.

In the past claimants could receive compensation worth up to £15,000.

If the decision is upheld by the Law Lords, it will result in a substantial windfall saving for insurance firms who have brought the test case in an attempt to end compensation for pleural plaques.

Derek Simpson, General Secretary of Unite (Amicus section), which has supported claims throughout the test case for workers who were negligently exposed to asbestos during their employment, said: "Next week we will get the opportunity to ask the House of Lords to reverse the decision by the Court of Appeal. The judgement harmed many of our members who have been exposed to asbestos in their working lives by denying them the right to sue their former employers for developing pleural plaques.

"People with pleural plaques should be compensated for the genuine injury that asbestos exposure has caused.

"It has been a long wait for hundreds of people with pleural plaques but next week is our chance to fight on behalf of our members and all pleural plaques sufferers to get this cruel decision reversed."

Head of Asbestos Policy

National head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors, Ian McFall added: "Pleural plaques are recognised by medical experts as a sign of irreversible damage to the lining of the lung caused by a history of exposure to asbestos which carries an increased risk of malignant diseases such as the deadly cancer Mesothelioma.

"This hearing gives us the opportunity to argue that people exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with pleural plaques should win back the right to claim compensation from negligent employers."

The appeal to the House of Lords will be heard from 25 June to 2 July 2007.