June Hancock’s Legacy ‘Lives On In Battle Against Asbestos Dangers’

Lawyers Praise Her Work On 20th Anniversary Of Landmark Legal Case


Specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have praised the continuing legacy of June Hancock and her work to raise awareness of the dangers of the hazardous material, on the 20th anniversary of them helping her to secure a landmark legal victory in Leeds High Court.

June Hancock was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 1993 and, soon after, instructed Irwin Mitchell to launch a legal battle regarding her environmental exposure to asbestos, as a child, growing up close to the former JW Roberts asbestos factory in Armley, Leeds.

June’s case was the first to be brought by a mesothelioma sufferer who had not worked with the deadly material and her legal team successfully argued that the factory’s owner, Turner and Newall, should be held responsible for the exposure suffered by local residents living close to the site.

Following the victory on 27 October 1995, June was awarded a five-figure sum by way of compensation. While she sadly passed away, just two years later, June’s legacy of raising awareness of the asbestos-related cancer continues with the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund.

Launched in 1997, the charity raises vital funds for a range of ground-breaking research projects and activities supporting people with mesothelioma, while it also campaigns to raise awareness of the disease and the risks of asbestos. To date, over £1.5Million has been raised by generous supporters.

Adrian Budgen, the national head of asbestos litigation at Irwin Mitchell who helped June in her landmark battle for justice, is also a trustee of the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund.

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
“June’s famous victory was a watershed moment in terms of ensuring that mesothelioma victims, whose lives have been touched by the terrible legacy of asbestos, can achieve justice. Prior to the judgment, only those working with the dangerous material had been able to seek compensation, so her tireless work on this issue literally changed the legal landscape. It was a real David v Goliath battle and the trial judge, Mr Justice Holland, accused the defendants of trying to wear the claimants down by every means possible “legitimate or otherwise”.

“June was a truly remarkable woman and her spirit very much lives on in the work undertaken by the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund. I feel immensely privileged to have represented her.

“Sadly, we continue to see many cases in which people have been exposed to asbestos through no fault of their own, whether it is in industrial premises, domestic dwellings or public buildings where the material was used in their construction.

“There remains plenty of work to be done to improve safety standards, in this regard, and we remain totally committed to campaigning on the issue in June’s memory.”
Adrian Budgen, Partner