This is a useful decision of the Court upholding the application of a broadly drafted clause excluding property damage liability in negligence on the part of a supplier of a fire prevention mechanism which failed. Continue reading
From 25 April 2017 when term-time resumes, it will no longer be possible to issue claims or applications, or to file documents, on paper; all issuing and filings in any of the jurisdictions of the Rolls Building instead have to be made through the website.
The website can be accessed via this link.
The Rolls Building jurisdictions relevant to property damage include:
- Admiralty and Mercantile Court
- Commercial Court
the other jurisdictions (less relevant to property damage) include the Chancery Division, IPEC, Patents Court, Financial List and the Bankruptcy and Companies Court.
Neil Moody QC and Timothy Killen have published an article on the decision in Howmet in the February/March edition of the Construction Law Journal (Citation (2017) 33 Const L.J. Issue 1), published by Sweet and Maxwell.
You can read it here.
From the press release on the Judiciary website:
“From June of this year, the specialist civil courts are to be known as the “Business and Property Courts of England and Wales”.
The Business and Property Courts will be the new name for England and Wales’ international dispute resolution jurisdictions and will act as a single umbrella for business specialist courts across England and Wales.
It will encompass the specialist courts and lists of the High Court:
- the Commercial Court, (including the Admiralty Court),
- the Technology and Construction Court (“TCC”), and
- the courts of the Chancery Division (including those dealing with financial services, intellectual property, competition, and insolvency).
The new arrangements will preserve the familiar practices and procedures of these courts, whilst allowing for more flexible cross-deployment of judges with suitable expertise and experience to sit on appropriate business and property cases.”
This case sets clear limits on the Marcic defence and confirms that where a sewerage undertaker’s owes a private law duty of care, it may not be able to rely upon the more limited Leakey “measured” duty of care.
This case involved a fire at the Claimant’s waste processing plant. The Claimant sought to recover approximately £1.5 million in damages from the Defendant insurers. During the first CMC, the Claimant sought to prohibit the Defendant insurer from relying on their chosen fire expert, Mr Steven Braund, a forensic expert employed by Hawkins.
Liability of Independent sub-contractors: Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd v Robert West Consulting Ltd.
In Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd v Robert West Consulting Ltd  EWHC 3291 (TCC), Coulson J gave guidance as to the exceptions to the general rule that a main contractor cannot be liable in tort for the acts or omissions of an independent sub-contractor. He also analysed the application of those exceptions to a plea of contributory negligence. Continue reading
Thanks to all those who attended 2TG’s Damage Day 2016. The day was a great success, with a record number of attendees.
A special thanks to the Hon. Mr Justice Coulson who delivered the keynote speech.
Many thanks to our speakers:
- Howard Palmer QC who spoke on the problems of causation in contract and negligence based property damages cases
- Jessica van der Meer who spoke on knowledge of malfunction and attribution of knowledge in property damage cases
- Sonia Nolten who spoke on the meaning of “reasonable opportunity to abate” in subsidence claims.
- George Hilton who spoke on procedure & awards under the Party Wall Act 1996
- Ben Hobby FCA, Dip CII, of RGL Forensics who provided the expert perspective on proving a loss of profits calculation
- Daniel Crowley & Isabel Barter who spoke on expert evidence & the Ocensa Pipeline Group Litigation Action
- Andrew Miller QC who spoke on the changing face of mediation in property damage claims.
You can catch some of the highlights of Damage Day 2016 on 2TG’s twitter account: @2TempleGardens
We look forward to seeing you at Damage Day 2017
A Midlands property company, Western Trading Ltd, held an informal tenancy of a Grade II listed former leather factory in Walsall, known as the Boak. These premises were owned by the company’s director and shareholder, Mr Singh. Although derelict, with an agreed value of only £75,000 as a rough storage facility, the building was insured for £2.1m, which was roughly what it would have cost to reinstate it in the event of damage or destruction. At this point, the building had very doubtful development potential, because of the planning constraints imposed by its heritage status, and limitations imposed by the shape of the building and features of its very distinctive elevations.
In 2012, the Boak was destroyed by fire, whereupon the listed status of the premises was rescinded. In consequence the Boak site acquired significant development potential, and an accompanying substantial increase in value.
By the insuring clause in the policy, the insurer agreed to indemnify Western Trading against ‘loss of or damage to the property’. By an additional Memorandum, the insurers agreed to provide an indemnity on a reinstatement basis, subject to the provision that nothing would be paid ‘until the cost of reinstatement shall have actually been incurred’.
Following the fire, no reinstatement was carried out. The insurers declined to make any payment to Western Trading, on the grounds that the policy was for various reasons invalid, and that in any event Western Trading had suffered no loss, and could not claim a reinstatement indemnity because no works of reinstatement had been done.
Western Trading issued proceedings in London’s Mercantile Court claiming £2.1m from the insurers, alternatively a declaration ‘that it was entitled to be indemnified by the policy in respect of the losses it has suffered’. Continue reading