Significant cases before the Supreme Court in late 2019

The 2019/20 legal year begins in just over two weeks on Tuesday 1 October. Several cases to be heard by the Supreme Court this term (and set out in the body of this post) will see challenges to the nature and scope of civil liability.

Before then, and from 17 September, the Court will hear the Brexit-related judicial reviews which will examine the legal basis of the recent decision to prologue parliament. That this is happening outside regular legal terms and that it will involve nine Justices are clear indications of the extraordinary nature of our current political and constitutional debate.

Returning to the civil sphere, however, the cases of interest due to be heard – by more conventional panels of five Justices – before Christmas include the following.

Aspen Underwriting v Credit Europe Bank (from 4 November)

  • The appropriate jurisdiction, under the rules in the recast Brussels regulation, for a cross-border insurance-related dispute?

Morrisons Supermarkets v Various Claimants (from 6 November)

  • Whether the vicarious liability of an employer extends to harm caused by deliberate and criminal mass data breaches by an employee?

Barclays Bank v Various Claimants (from 28 November)

  • Whether a bank should be vicariously liable for sexual assaults committed by a doctor, retained by the bank as an independent contractor, during medical screening of female job applicants?

XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust (from 16 December)

  • Whether the costs of commercial surrogacy arrangements which the claimant, who became infertile as a result of medical negligence, entered into legally in California are recoverable as damages in English law despite commercial surrogacy being illegal in England?

For obvious reasons, the Court is likely to deliver its judgment in the Brexit judicial review very quickly. Judgments in the other cases are likely to follow more conventional timings and we’d expect to see them any time from Q1 2020.


Alistair Kinley, Director of  Policy and Government Affairs, BLM

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