As reported last week the Supreme Court has allowed the appeal of the claimant shipowners in Versloot Dredging BV and another (Appellants) v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG and others (The “DC Merwestone”)  UKSC45. By a 4:1 majority the Supreme Court held that the fraudulent claims rule did not apply to collateral lies made in support of an insurance claim where those lies were irrelevant to the existence or amount of a justified claim.
The shipowners were entitled to payment of over 3 million euros in respect of damage caused to their ship’s engine by the ingress of sea water. Their manager’s lies regarding the timing of the bilge alarms, which he told in support of the claim, were irrelevant to the owners’ entitlement to payment under the policy. The false statements were intended to reassure insurers that the ship was not unseaworthy and, in particular, that its alarm systems were working satisfactorily and to draw insurers’ focus away from such matters. Continue reading
The UK Supreme Court handed down judgment in Versloot Dredging BV and Another v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG and others . You can access the full text of the decision here.
In brief, the Court determined (by a majority of 4 to 1) that the ‘fraudulent device’ rule does not apply to collateral lies, which are immaterial to the insured’s right to recover. Lord Sumption gave the lead judgment. Lord Clarke, Lord Hughes and Lord Toulson give concurring judgments. Lord Mance gives a dissenting judgment.
Our previous blog post on Versloot can be found here.
An in-depth analysis of Lord Sumption and Lord Mance’s judgments will be posted shortly. Watch this space.
Cooper v Thameside  EWHC 1248 follows a line of recent cases (Nulty v Milton Keynes  EWCA, Graves v Brouwer  EWCA, and O’Connor v Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust  EWCA) where the courts have examined the correct approach to proof where there are gaps in the evidence and several competing theories as to how the damage occurred. Continue reading
This case (judgment here) is of particular interest since it is the latest in a developing line of authority that explores the scope of the principle in Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd (2003) UKHL 66 (in Marcic it was held that common law liability of a statutory sewerage undertaker does not exist if its imposition is inconsistent with the statutory scheme for liability and enforcement under the Water Industry Act 1991). Continue reading
The end of the road has been reached in long-running civil litigation arising out of the August 2011 riots. On 20 April this year the Supreme Court handed down a judgment by Lord Hodge, with whom Lords Neuberger, Clarke, Hughes and Toulson agreed: The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Appellant) v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (Europe) Ltd and Others (Respondent).
The issue on the appeal was whether consequential losses are recoverable under section 2 of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 (‘the Act’). The Supreme Court has answered that question in the negative. The only damages recoverable under the Act are direct losses arising from the damage to property caused in a riot. Continue reading
The question before the Court of Appeal in Cocking v Eacott & Waring  EWCA Civ 140 was whether an absentee property owner (Mrs Waring) could be liable in nuisance to the property’s next door neighbours (the Cockings) in respect of the nuisance emanating from the property caused by her daughter’s (Ms Eacott’s) noisy dog whilst Ms Eacott lived at the property.
On the facts of this case the answer was yes. Continue reading
On 25 February 2016 Lord Faulks announced that he had laid before Parliament the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Regulations 2016 (“the 2016 Regs”) to enable the 2010 Act to be brought into effect. The 2010 Act was a Bill drafted by the Law Commissions back in 2001. The Act’s most important provisions are those enabling third parties to bring actions directly against insurers in one set of proceedings (where an insured is insolvent) and to obtain much more information about the insolvent insured’s insurance arrangements. Continue reading
Robert Lindley Limited v East Riding of Yorkshire  UKUT 0006 (LC)
The Claimant company brought a claim against East Riding of Yorkshire Council (“the Council”) in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) under ss 14A(11), 14(5) & (6) Land Drainage Act 1991 (“LDA 1991”) in respect of flood damage to the Claimant’s carrot crops resulting from floodwater pumping operations.
The pumping had been carried out under the Council’s control using pumps provided by the Environmental Agency (“EA”) and the Fire Service. The objective was to divert floodwaters from a local built-up area. Continue reading
Filed under Fires, Insurance