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Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Section 3 – Limitation of actions

13.This section provides that the period between the date of the decision in Johnston (17 October 2007) and the date on which any change to the law comes into operation does not count towards the three-year limitation period for raising an action for damages in respect of the three conditions covered in the Act. Subsection (1)(a) addresses the kinds of claims to which this section applies, that is, claims involving the asbestos-related conditions covered by sections 1 and 2. This includes claims that have been raised in the courts before any change to the law comes into operation, as well as future claims. Subsection (1)(b) provides that, where actions have been raised before the date on which the change to the law comes into operation, this section will apply only if those cases are ongoing at that date. The effect of this section is to address cases that may be at risk of being dismissed by the courts on time-bar grounds. For example, a person who developed pleural plaques in December 2004 and whose case could be considered time-barred by December 2007 might have delayed raising his/her case because s/he thought s/he had no right of action because of the decision in Johnston. That person may then have lodged a claim because DFP announced that it was recommending a change to the law. Without this provision, which will, for a specified period, stop the time-bar clock running, that person’s claim could be dismissed as having been raised beyond the three-year limitation period.

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