Issues of causation and compensation arising out of occupational malignant mesothelioma claims. A survey of the common law in the United Kingdom leads to an assessment of the law and policy settings which Hong Kong should adopt in relation to these issues. It is argued that Hong Kong is underprepared for the steep rise of asbestos-related litigation on the way to its shores and that the absence in Hong Kong of local common law on mesothelioma liability means that it will draw on English approaches which are, themselves, unsatisfactory and unsuitable to local conditions. In particular, is argued that the high sympathy culture toward patients in Hong Kong’s healthcare system and the high level of personal and corporate bankruptcy mean that stringent English compensation approaches to mesothelioma in cases of pre-cursor conditions and multiple employer apportionment of liability (respectively) are not a good fit for Hong Kong.
This addresses asbestos-related mesothelioma in Hong Kong from both general occupational and more particularly the maritime exposure perspectives. A conference on asbestos in Asia was hosted by Hong Kong in 2009 and the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims and the relative of a marine mechanic who was an asbestosis suffer all combined to express concern at the increasing mesothelioma mortality in the Region There is a great similarity between the course of the disease in Hong Kong mesothelioma patents and the epidemiology described in the international medical literature: mean age of 63 years upon diagnosis, mean latency of 46 years, median survival of 9.5 months, patients are predominantly male and there is a high prevalence among workers in ships and dockyards .
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