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27 Sep 2004

Barrie Clement, Independent [UK]

Lawyers in asbestos case agreed to destroy evidence [UK]

[UK]: A leading London law firm agreed a deal to destroy documents which could be used by workers to claim compensation for asbestos-related diseases, The Independent has learnt. The City firm, Leigh, Day & Co, signed an undertaking with Cape plc to keep the agreement confidential and to resist any legal action to disclose the evidence. After claimants in other cases protested against the deal, Leigh, Day told Cape that instead of destroying the documents it would hand them back to the company...Although the company says that it will keep original copies of the papers, it could take prolonged litigation for a new set of claimants to obtain them...Sally Moore of Leigh, Day said that documents belonged to the company because the claim was settled out of court. Only papers disclosed at a legal hearing are regarded as "in the public domain".