The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal in R&S Pilling v UK Insurance. The claim stems from a fire, caused by Mr Holden welding has stationary car in order to rectify defects reported in a failed MoT test, which severely damaged the claimant’s building. The case turns on whether welding the car was “use” of the vehicle for the purposes of compulsory insurance (as required by section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988). It is difficult to predict when the Supreme Court might hear the case but the fact that it will very much keeps the debate on “use” a very live topic.
On 17 January the Supreme Court handed down three judgments in cases arising from recent military campaigns. Claims had been brought against the UK Government on matters such as the scope of tort liability and certain Convention rights. The cases focused on the liabilities of the UK government for allegedly tortious acts done either by HM Forces in the course of operations overseas or by foreign governments in which UK officials are alleged to have been complicit.
In the most high profile of the various cases, the Supreme Court upheld a Court of Appeal ruling meaning that former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw faces being sued over allegations of illegal arrest and torture brought by a former Libyan dissident, Abdul-Hakim Belhaj. He alleges that MI6, then under the Ministerial responsibility of Mr Straw, helped the US abduct him in Asia in 2004 to return him and his wife to Tripoli. The BBC reported the outcome under the headline Libyan wins right to sue ex-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
The Supreme Court will resume sittings on 5 October 2016. We highlighted some of the key upcoming cases last week here.
Five of the current Justices are due to retire by the end of 2018, including the President Lord Neuberger and heavyweights such as Lords Mance and Sumption. There has been criticism about the selection process for Justices – such as whether it will continue to focus on white males of a certain age and background or whether greater diversity will play a part in the process – and in this piece we look at the process, the criticisms and some possible candidates. The answer to ‘why now?’ is that an immediate vacancy was created in the SC with Lord Toulson’s retirement on 22 September 2016.