In the Supreme Court’s decision today in Brownlie v Four Seasons (Cairo), a 4:1 majority of the Justices allowed the underlying tort claim to proceed in England & Wales and rejected the defendant’s argument that there was no jurisdiction here.
The decision turns on the rather rarefied point of the meaning of “damage … sustained within the jurisdiction”, one of the necessary elements in securing the court’s permission to serving proceedings outside England & Wales. What the decision means is that 11 years after the death of her husband in the index accident in Egypt and after two separate visits to the Supreme Court, the claimant should now finally be able to progress this significant fatal accident claim.
Over a year ago we wrote about the outcome of the initial appeal in Roberts v SSAFA & AKV, a birth-related injury claim dating back to 2000 which turned on highly involved cross-border litigation issues. At the heart of it is the question of the applicable law between the two defendants (one a British charity and the other a German hospital, both of which had provided medical treatment when the claimant was born).
The previous blog summarised the complex legal points and speculated that the Court of Appeal’s decision last July might not mark the end of the proceedings. That has now proved to be so. The Supreme Court’s website noted, on 17 September, that permission to appeal had been granted back in July. However, the case name now refers just to the two defendants, which strongly suggests (a) that any remaining live issues are only as between them and (b) that the Roberts family’s claim may finally have been resolved. Assuming the issues to be argued before the Supreme Court are the same ones we summarised last year, it looks like the eventual decision about them should be an important one.
Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs
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Following the CJEU’s judgment in the long-running case of X v Kuoni in March 2021, discussed in our previous blog post here, on Friday 30 July the Supreme Court handed down (what appears to be) its final word in this claim which stems from a sexual assault during a package holiday in Sri Lanka in 2010.