Compensation for South African Asbestos Claimants 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



On 21 December, 2001, Mr. Justice Wright stayed further judicial proceedings in the case Afrika v. Cape PLC, formerly the Cape Asbestos Company Ltd., after a conditional agreement worth over £21 million ($30 million) had been reached. Solicitor Richard Meeran, whose firm Leigh, Day & Co. represented many of the South African asbestos victims, said: "It’s not a victory, but if you look at where we started a few years ago, when everyone told us we were wasting our time, it’s a good result." A sum of £11 million will be paid into a new Trust Fund by Cape by 30 June, 2002. The balance will be paid in instalments of £1 million a year. Awards will be made to the 7,500 claimants according to the severity of their disease: a maximum of £5250 for mesothelioma, £3250 for asbestosis, £2500 for pleural thickening and £800 for pleural plaques. The plaintiffs’ lawyers, understanding that a larger award might force Cape into insolvency, were determined to achieve a "meaningful" settlement for the injured. Senior officials of the South African Government believe that the amount offered would be welcomed by the claimants.


December 22, 2001



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