New Judgment: Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill – Reference by the Counsel General for Wales  UKSC 3
09 Monday Feb 2015
The applicant referred the question whether the Welsh Assembly has the legislative competence to enact the Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill to the Supreme Court. The Bill has two provisions of particular importance. Clause 2 makes persons “by whom or on whose behalf” compensation payments are made to victims of asbestos-related diseases liable to Welsh Ministers for the cost of NHS services provided to such victims. Clause 14 extended the scope of the compensators’ liability insurance policies to cover the sums which they would be required to pay under clause 2.
The Supreme Court unanimously finds that the Welsh Assembly lacks legislative competence: the Bill is not sufficiently “related to” the “organisation and funding of [the] national health service”, to bring it within the Government of Wales Act 2006, s 108(4)-(5) and para 9 of Part 1 of Sch 7. It is also incompatible with the art 1 of Protocol 1 ECHR rights of compensators and insurers to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions.