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Parent company liable in asbestos case

30th April 2012

The Court of Appeal has ruled that parent companies can be held up as responsible for illness and injury suffered by employees at their subsidiaries in a landmark case.

David Chandler, who worked for Cape Building Products between 1959 and 1961, launched a successful action against asbestos-manufacturing parent company Cape, partly because the business that directly employed him no longer exists.

Under previous guidelines, companies and subsidiaries were divorced from each other when it came to legal matters, with the theory being that it was unfair for one to be blamed for incidents at the other.

However, Lady Justice Arden decided that Cape did have an obligation of care for the health and safety of everyone who worked under its corporate umbrella which was not properly fulfilled at the Cape Building Products site.

The case could lead to more work for those with solicitor jobs in London, as others with long-held asbestos-related diseases realise that they can now claim for their conditions.