Â£7.5m deal in asbestos case
Saturday 28 June 2003
A long-running battle for compensation against a British company brought by thousands of South African miners with asbestos-related disease was settled yesterday for £7.5m at the High Court.
The settlement against Cape plc also included provision for a further £3.1m by South African company Gencor Ltd, making a total payout to the workers of £10.6m. The deal was clinched in March this year, but was formally approved yesterday by Sir Michael Wright at a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Cape's barrister told the judge: "Cape has actively promoted and pursued this settlement, although it does not make any admission of liability. The Cape board is pleased that it comes to a close and that Cape can now move on."
During the hearing, a banker's draft was handed on behalf of Cape to Lord Brennan QC, representing more than 7,000 claimants, for more than £7m. After hearing from Lord Brennan on behalf of the 7,500 claimants and Charles Gibson QC, for Cape, Sir Michael said he was more than happy to approve the settlement sum. He paid tribute to all parties "for the common sense of the negotiations that have gone on".
The settlement will cover only claimants registered in the UK legal action and not future ones. Solicitors for the claimants, Leigh, Day and Co, said: "The amount of the settlement is insufficient to enable funds to be distributed among further claimants." But they said the number of excluded claimants "should be small".
The solicitors said the settlement reached in March came after "investigations revealed Cape was in serious financial difficulty and experts advised there was a real threat of insolvency. Had that happened, it is doubtful whether the victims would have received a cent".
Cape plc, which sold its asbestos mines in 1979 and now works in asbestos removal, no longer has any interests in South Africa. At a previous hearing, Lord Brennan said it was the largest group action in Britain and the largest transnational claim of its kind.
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants slaughter 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
That Sugar Film director Damon Gameua receives shocking diagnosis after going on healthy sugar diet for just 60 days
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'