Percy Leonard McDonald v (1) Department for Communities and Local Government; and (2) National Grid Electricity Transmission PLC [2013] EWCA Civ 1346

Mathew White

12 November 2013

Matthew succeeded in the Court of Appeal in a battle over exposure to a modest amount of asbestos in the 1950s. The judgment confirms that there must be enough exposure for harm to have been foreseeable at the time of exposure for a claim in negligence to succeed.

A claimant can succeed against an occupier responsible for asbestos on (effectively) a strict liability basis under the Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 without needing to prove foreseeability, but an employer is not liable for an occupiers’ breach on the basis of a non-delegable duty.

“STOP PRESS:- An appeal by the occupier defendant (seeking to contend that Cherry Tree was wrongly decided) and a cross appeal by the claimant was heard by the Supreme Court in February 2014. The result is awaited.”