On 28 January seven Justices of the Supreme Court heard the case of Knauer v Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The case has been covered previously on this blog and turns on the date for the assessment of multipliers in claims for future loss of dependency under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The sole question for the Supreme Court is whether the appropriate date for the calculation is the date of death or the date of trial? The former represents the current common law which the appellant is seeking to overturn. Continue reading
The HSE released a short report this morning which notes that there were 2,538 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2013. Although unconnected, some recent Parliamentary responses by Ministers have offered indications of the level of activity under the payment scheme set up by the Mesothelioma Act 2014.
The Supreme Court’s decision today in this case surely reinforces the market understandings about contribution in mesothelioma cases featuring self-insurance (or no insurance) during the periods of actionable exposure to asbestos.
Although the point did not strictly arise – the case was decided on the common law as it existed before the Compensation Act 2006 – the 4:3 majority’s analysis of the equitable right of contribution now moves our understanding of the point further forward and provides the first formal authority for practices and propositions adopted across the market following the Fairchild case in 2002. The judgment also confirms that the insured’s legal defence costs are to be dealt with outside the basis of contribution to or sharing of the liability to claimant.
The Court’s summary, which was delivered this morning by Lord Mance, can be accessed via the SC site here, and, with the SC launching a ‘catch up’ video stream at the beginning of this month, it is also possible (should you wish to do so) to watch him delivering that.
BLM will be providing full, more detailed analysis of the case and its impact in the next few days.
About the Author
Alistair 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).