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Barker v Corus plc

[2006] UKHL 20

Case summary last updated at 15/01/2020 19:09 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Barker v Corus plc

D1 was exposed to asbestos while working for a company, now insolvent, another company and himself. D2s were exposed by several companies, some of whom became insolvent. Fairchild exception is applied and the parties were made to pay in proportion to how much they contributed to the risk of harm. NB by spreading liability out (rather than making one single D fully liable, one is less likely to be left without compensation (e.g. if that oneD is insolvent). This case also extended the Fairchild principle so that it applied even where the individual P exposed themselves to asbestos as well as D doing it too. 
 
Lord Walker and Lady Hale: in the interests of farness the Fairchild exception should be extended to the present case. 
 
Lord Hoffman: Quoted Bingham in Fairchild as saying “It would be unrealistic to suppose that the principle here affirmed will not over time be the subject of incremental and analogical development. Cases seeking to develop the principle must be decided when and as they arise.” He also says that the various formulations are of little help in new situations such as this. 

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