04 August 2022

Manchester Crown Court closes for asbestos testing

Ruth Craven Senior Solicitor

The temporary closure of Manchester Crown Court has recently been announced due to issues with the fabric of the building.

It is understood that a routine asbestos survey identified asbestos which has prompted the closure. The building dates back to the 1960s when asbestos was routinely used in the construction industry.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos only becomes dangerous when the particles become airborne, such as when it is disturbed; if these particles are inhaled or ingested, they can cause serious health issues, such as mesothelioma. 

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos. It affects the mesothelium which is a thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the chest wall (pleura) and the abdomen (peritoneum). Common symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and weight loss. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer for which there is no cure.

Asbestos exposure can cause other conditions such lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural thickening.

Where is asbestos found?

It is not unusual to find asbestos in public buildings so the closure of Manchester Crown Court does not come as a surprise, after all it is only a few weeks since Bolton Crown Court was closed amidst similar fears.

These kinds of closures obviously cause disruption. All urgent cases are being heard in Manchester’s Minshull Street Court or Bolton Crown Court, and some trials are being moved.

Other public buildings affected by asbestos include schools and hospitals. According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety, of the 33,600 schools in Britain, it is estimated that more than 75 per cent contain asbestos. Fourteen thousand schools were built after the second world war and almost all those built before 1975 contain asbestos. Most of the other schools were refurbished during this period and also contain asbestos. Similarly, hospitals face many of the same issues.

Given the current pressures faced by both the judicial system and the NHS these closures are far from ideal, however due to the scale of the problem it is an issues we will no doubt be living with for many years to come.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease and wish to bring a legal claim for damages, please speak to our asbestos related disease expert, Ruth Craven who will be able to advise. Ruth can be contacted on 01522 515597.

Need Help?

Contact Ruth to discuss this further.

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