James Hardie Fully Liable Where International Exposure to Asbestos

Legal Directions

Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund Limited as Trustee for the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund v Talifero High Court Application for Special Leave

On 13 March 2019, the High Court dismissed the Fund’s application for leave to appeal from the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal, with the effect that the Fund is obliged to fund the former James Hardie entities in respect of their liability to pay damages and/or contribution to the full extent prescribed by a judgment of the court in cases where part of the exposure to asbestos dust and fibre occurred outside Australia.

(Previous articles relevant to today’s decision, including Justice Sackar’s judicial advice at first instance [on 15 May 2018] and the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal on appeal [on 19 October 2018], are available on the Moray & Agnew website.)

The effect of the dismissal of the application for special leave will be to simplify litigation arising from indivisible asbestos diseases where exposure occurred in both Australia and overseas. In short, plaintiffs and cross-claimants will not be obliged to prepare expert evidence as to the degree of causal culpability attributable to the international exposure.

The decision may have the effect of requiring the liable former James Hardie entity to pursue contribution proceedings against non-Australian based tortfeasors, either in Australia or in the ‘home jurisdiction’ of that tortfeasor.

Further information / assistance regarding the issues raised in this article is available from the author, Stephen Taylor Jones, Partner or your usual contact at Moray & Agnew.

 


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