The case of Lydia Kelly and others v Upper Clyde Shipbuilders marks the first decision from a civil jury in the Court of Session following the radical procedural changes arising from the June 2012 appeal decisions of Thomson and Hamilton.
John Kelly died aged 82 as a result of mesothelioma arising from his asbestos exposure at work. His death came months after diagnosis.
Guidance was given to the jury by the trial judge, Lady Clark, on a range of figures they might consider for loss of society awards for the deceased’s widow and adult children.
The range suggested for the widow was £40,000-£80,000. The range suggested for the children was £15,000-£35,000. It was made clear to the jury that the range was just for guidance and fundamentally it was a matter for them what was awarded.
The jury’s award for the widow was £45,500, towards the bottom of the suggested range. The award for the adult children of £25,000 was in the middle of the suggested range.
In this case the jury seems to have been prepared to follow the trial judge’s guidance.