At Thompson’s we would like to reassure all our clients that as far as possible we are operating as normal. The health and safety of our staff and clients is our primary concern during this outbreak and as such we are reviewing the situation on a regular basis and will be adapting our working practices following government guidelines. However, we have had to make some minor changes to how we are doing things.

Following Government guidelines, we have temporarily closed all of our offices and our staff are now all working from home using secure technologies to ensure they are able to continue to progress with existing and new cases as normal. All face to face meetings have been cancelled, however we are continuing to hold these meetings via phone and video calls. All the team are contactable on their direct dial numbers and email should you need to speak with your solicitor, please do not hesitate to talk to us about anything during this time.

We know these are uncertain and unsettling times for many of our clients, and the wider population, and things might look a little different for the foreseeable future. But our focus remains on our dedication, knowledge and strength that we provide to all our clients. We will continue to provide updates over the coming days and weeks in accordance with official guidelines and to keep everyone informed of the situation.

As always, for any concerns, advice and updates on your case; Talk to Thompsons.

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The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 introduced the new duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises. Although the new duty only become law on 21 May 2004, duty-holders had been encouraged to start complying with the new duty from the introduction of the regulations.

The aim of regulation 4 is to help protect the largest group who are today at risk of exposure to asbestos, building and maintenance workers, thereby helping to prevent thousands of asbestos-related deaths.

The HSE has been providing guidance to duty holders for some time in advance of today's date including the provision of a webpage providing an outline of the duty.

The Control of Asbestos at Work 2002 Regulations in October 2002 introduced the new duty to manage asbestos risk in non-domestic premises. Nick Brown (the then Minister responsible for health and safety), in his speech to the House of Commons during the debate on the Regulations in October 2002, reinforced the Government's support:

Speaking at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Inverness, she insisted that no-one who committed a crime would be above the law.

"So if legislation is needed to deal with corporate killing, we will bring forward legislation,' she said. "Too many people have told me that the scales of justice have tipped too far in favour of the lawbreaking few."

At Livingston Sheriff Court West Lothian Council was fined £3000 for breaching health and safety legislation during and in preparation for work on the permanent electrical installation of Uphall Primary School. It was also admonished on two charges, and not guilty of three others.

Although the presence of asbestos in tiles elsewhere in the school had been noted, the Council inspection prior to the contract had failed to identify the presence of asbestos on the back of the classroom ceiling tiles, and these had been broken up as work progressed.

Although it is understood that the regulations will be laid before Parliament next week they are not expected to come into force till the end of November 2002 or in the case of Regulation 4(the duty to manage) and Regulation 20 (standards for analysis will not be enforced for a further 18 and 24 months respectively.

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