Brown v North British Steel Foundry Ltd: OHCS 1968

The 1954 Act passed on 4 June 1954 but was not to affect any action or proceeding if the cause of action arose before that date. The Lord Ordinary found that the pursuer who sought damages for pneumoconiosis did not begin to suffer from until 1955. But the pursuer contended that the injury had been done to his lungs by 1949 because he had been inhaling dangerous dust for some years before that and, as subsequent events showed, he was susceptible to pneumoconiosis in 1949. So the cause of action had arisen at that date. The First Division of the Court of Session rejected that argument.
Held: Lord President Clyde said that there was no cause of action in 1949 and added: ‘To create a cause of action, injuria and damnum are essential ingredients. In the present case there is no evidence of any injuries to the workman’s lungs in 1949. He had then merely a deposit of dust in his lungs, which might or might not subsequently create an injury. But, in addition, he had then sustained no damnum. He could not then have been awarded damages for any loss, because at that stage he had sustained no loss of wages and had suffered none of the discomforts and disabilities which, he avers, followed upon the onset of pneumoconiosis and which in fact flowed from the outbreak of that disease in 1955.’


Lord President Clyde


1968 SC 51


Law Reform (Limitation of Actions etc) Act 1954

Cited by:

CitedJohnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd; Rothwell v Chemical and Insulating Co Ltd; similar HL 17-Oct-2007
The claimant sought damages for the development of neural plaques, having been exposed to asbestos while working for the defendant. The presence of such plaques were symptomless, and would not themselves cause other asbestos related disease, but . .
CitedAXA General Insurance Ltd and Others v Lord Advocate and Others SCS 8-Jan-2010
The claimant sought to challenge the validity of the 2009 Act by judicial review. The Act would make their insured and themselves liable to very substantial unanticipated claims for damages for pleural plaques which would not previousl or otherwise . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Scotland, Personal Injury, Limitation

Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.260124