Riots, fatalities and fraud: four days in the Supreme Court this term

Three noteworthy cases, which have previously been featured on this blog, are to be heard by the Supreme Court in the next few weeks. Each case is significant for either motor/casualty or property insurers. The Mitsui, Knauer and Versloot cases deal respectively with the matters set out in the title of this post.

  • On 21 January, five Justices will hear the final appeal in Mayor’s Office for Policing v Mitsui & others. The case turns on whether the current riot damages legislation – which dates from 1886 – obliges the policing authority to compensate not only for property damage sustained in a riot, but also for consequential economic loss (for which the insurers involved are arguing, by way of subrogation)?
  • A panel of seven Justices will, in Knauer v Ministry of Justice, which is being heard on 28 January, consider if, in fatal accident claims, the common law should be changed so that multipliers for loss of dependency should be calculated not from the date of death (as set down in 1979 in Cookson v Knowles) but from the date of assessment of the award?
  • Versloot Dredging will be heard on 16 & 17 March before a more usual panel of five Justices. The key question here is whether the rule that ‘fraud by an insured unravels all’ should also operate where a fraudulent means or device was used to further the claim? If it does, then a second question arises: whether the complete forfeiture of the insured’s claim under that rule infringes his or her rights under Article 1 Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights? [Having accepted the premise of the rule, the Court of Appeal had little hesitation in answering this second question negatively and in fairly trenchant language.]

While it would be both difficult and unwise to attempt to call the outcome of any of these cases, we shall certainly be following the hearings closely and will report on the judgments as and when they are handed down by the Court.


About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

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