Friday, 6 September 2013
7 YEAR DELAY DID NOT DEFEAT CLAIM
In Nicholas v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 2351 (QB), Judge Burrell QC exercised his discretion under s 33 Limitation Act 1933 to allow a claim on behalf of the estate of the deceased who, during her lifetime, had been crippled by the onset of asbestosis in her old age. She knew her respiratory illness had been caused by her exposure to asbestos from her wartime work assembling gas masks. She acquired this knowledge more than four years before her death from an unrelated condition.
Key factors influencing the court's decision to disapply the statutory limitation period of three years were: (i) the MoD had conceded liability and could establish no prejudice to the cogency of the evidence from the delay, (ii) the victim had not been well enough to issue proceedings, (iii) following her death, the MoD were informed relatively promptly of the prospective claim, (iv) a moratorium had been agreed between the solicitors within a year of the victim’s death and this was in place up to the date proceedings were issued and (v) no prejudice occurred by reason of this additional delay.
My detailed case commentary on Nicholas v MoD and my review of the relevant case law and considerations is published in the Journal of Personal Injury Law in issue 3 of 2013 and it can be accessed through Lawtel.