Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill (Reference By The Counsel General for Wales): SC 9 Feb 2015

The court was asked whether the Bill was within the competence of the Welsh Assembly. The Bill purported to impose NHS charges on those from whom asbestos related damages were recovered.
Held: The Bill fell outside the legislative competence of the Welsh Assembly, in that it did not relate to any of the subjects listed in paragraph 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 7 to the 2006 Act. Though the Bill was not retrospective in the fullest sense, it would significantly restructure both the consequences of actual or possible negligence or breach of statutory duty committed long ago by compensators, and the terms of and liabilities attaching under insurance policies also underwritten years ago to cover any such negligence or breach of duty. The key question was whether GOWA provides legislative competence for the imposition of liabilities on compensators and insurers.
‘The provision of health services and the organisation and funding of the Welsh Health Service clearly cannot permit the Welsh Assembly to raise monies generally, by relying on the fact that any monies raised from any source increase the funds available for all its spending, including spending on the Health Service. The question is whether the position is different if the monies raised can be said to be specifically intended or hypothecated to provide funds for use in the Health Service. But, if that were sufficient, it would be difficult to see any real limit to the persons on whom or basis on which such charges might be imposed, provided only that the charges were levied on that express basis. The reality is also that, unless the charges are for research, treatment or other services which would not otherwise be undertaken or provided by the National Health Service, even a hypothecated charge is in substance no different from a general charge boosting the Welsh Government’s resources.’


Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Hodge, Lord Thomas


[2015] UKSC 3, [2015] 2 WLR 481, (2015) 143 BMLR 1, [2015] 2 All ER 899, [2015] WLR(D) 67, [2015] HRLR 9, [2015] 1 AC 1016, UKSC 2014/0043, [2015] Lloyd’s Rep IR 474


Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary


National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006, Government of Wales Act 2006 108(4)




CitedMartin v Her Majesty’s Advocate SC 3-Mar-2010
The claimant challenged the law extending the power of Sheriffs sitting alone to impose sentences of up to one year.
Held: The defendants’ appeal failed (Lord Rodger and Lord Kerr dissenting). The change was within the power of the Scottish . .
CitedEmployers’ Liability Insurance ‘Trigger’ Litigation: BAI (Run Off) Ltd v Durham and Others SC 28-Mar-2012
The court considered the liability of insurers of companies now wound up for mesothelioma injuries suffered by former employees of those companies, and in particular whether the 1930 Act could be used to impose liability. The insurers now appealed . .
CitedImperial Tobacco Ltd v The Lord Advocate SC 12-Dec-2012
The claimant company said that the 2010 Act was outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament insofar as it severely restricted the capacity of those selling cigarettes to display them for sale. They suggested two faults. First, that the subject . .
CitedAgricultural Sector (Wales) Bill (Attorney General for England and Wales, Reference) SC 9-Jul-2014
‘Her Majesty’s Attorney General for England and Wales has referred to this Court under section 112(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 the question of whether, on the proper construction of section 108 and Schedule 7 to the GWA 2006, the . .
CitedHandyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
Freedom of Expression is Fundamental to Society
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .
CitedMarckx v Belgium ECHR 13-Jun-1979
Recognition of illegitimate children
The complaint related to the manner in which parents were required to adopt their own illegitimate child in order to increase his rights. Under Belgian law, no legal bond between an unmarried mother and her child results from the mere fact of birth. . .
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 . .
CitedBurden and Burden v The United Kingdom ECHR 29-Apr-2008
(Grand Chamber) The claimants were sisters who had lived together all their lives. They complained of discrimination in their treatment under the Inheritance Tax system as opposed to the treatment of a same sex couple living in a sexual . .
CitedHuitson, Regina (on The Application of) v Revenue and Customs CA 25-Jul-2011
The claimant challenged the lawfulness of HMRC’s enforcement of retrospective amendments to legislation in violation of his human rights. The claimant says that, before the legislation was amended with retrospective effect, he was entitled to relief . .
CitedAXA General Insurance Ltd and Others v Lord Advocate and Others SC 12-Oct-2011
Standing to Claim under A1P1 ECHR
The appellants had written employers’ liability insurance policies. They appealed against rejection of their challenge to the 2009 Act which provided that asymptomatic pleural plaques, pleural thickening and asbestosis should constitute actionable . .
CitedNicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
CitedJames and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1986
The claimants challenged the 1967 Act, saying that it deprived them of their property rights when lessees were given the power to purchase the freehold reversion.
Held: Article 1 (P1-1) in substance guarantees the right of property. Allowing a . .
CitedAGOSI v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Oct-1986
Krugerrand coins were seized by the Commissioners and the claimant was unsuccessful in obtaining their restoration under what is now section 152(b) of the 1979 Act. It was argued that the request for restoration of the coins amounted to a . .
CitedGasus Dosier-Und Fodertechnik Gmbh v The Netherlands ECHR 23-Feb-1995
Even where an interference in property rights involved the complete loss of a person’s economic interest in an asset for the benefit of the State, an absence of compensation might still be compatible with Article 1. ‘The Court recalls that the . .
CitedPressos Compania Naviera S A And Others v Belgium ECHR 20-Nov-1995
When determining whether a claimant has possessions or property within the meaning of Article I the court may have regard to national law and will generally do so unless the national law is incompatible with the object and purpose of Article 1. Any . .
CitedBack v Finland ECHR 20-Jul-2004
The claimant was the owner of a substantial debt owed by another individual. However the value of his debt was reduced to a very small level when the debtor entered a statutory scheme for compromise of debts.
Held: It must be open to a . .
CitedGrainger and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Jul-2012
. .
CitedPaulet v The United Kingdom ECHR 13-May-2014
ECHR Article 1 para. 1 of Protocol No. 1
Peaceful enjoyment of possessions
Narrow scope of review for order confiscating wages from employment obtained using a false passport: violation
Facts – . .

Cited by:

CitedMathieson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions SC 8-Jul-2015
The claimant a boy of three in receipt of disability living allowance (‘DLA’) challenged (through his parents) the withdrawal of that benefit whilst he was in hospital for a period of more than 12 weeks. He had since died.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedA and B, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Health SC 14-Jun-2017
The court was asked: ‘Was it unlawful for the Secretary of State for Health, the respondent, who had power to make provisions for the functioning of the National Health Service in England, to have failed to make a provision which would have enabled . .
CitedScotch Whisky Association and Others v The Lord Advocate and Another SC 15-Nov-2017
The Association challenged the imposition of minimum pricing systems for alcohol, saying that it was in breach of European law. After a reference to the ECJ, the Court now considered its legality.
Held: The Association’s appeal failed. Minimum . .
CitedDA and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions SC 15-May-2019
Several lone parents challenged the benefits cap, saying that it was discriminatory.
Held: (Hale, Kerr LL dissenting) The parents’ appeals failed. The legislation had a clear impact on lone parents and their children. The intention was to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 07 February 2022; Ref: scu.542336