Commercial Court upholds right of insurer to avoid policy for misrepresentation and non-disclosure

In Dalecroft Properties Ltd v Underwriters [2017] EWHC 1263 (Comm), Mr Richard Salter QC (sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court) confirmed the defendant insurers’ right to avoid a property insurance policy following various misrepresentations relating to the state of repair of the insured property and non-disclosures relating to acts of vandalism to the property. The property in question was subsequently destroyed by fire and a claim was made by the insured. In response, the insurers purported to avoid the policy. On the facts, it was held that there were material misrepresentations and that material non-disclosures were made, such that the insurers were entitled to avoid the policy.

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High Court revisits the question of the breach of duty of care in relation to mesothelioma

English law has developed a body of principles to address the particular problems posed by mesothelioma. This special area of law is known as the “Fairchild enclave”, a reference to the House of Lords decision in 2002. The Court has adopted a modified test for causation, but the claimant still has to prove that the defendant was negligent and/or in breach of duty. Where a claimant is unable to rely upon a breach of statutory duty, this question usually involves an analysis of the level of exposure and available knowledge of the risks. The recent High Court decision in Bussey v Anglia Heating (12 May 2017) reviewed this issue in the context of low-level, infrequent exposure.

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The Supreme Court considers meaning of the words “a series of related matters or transactions” within an aggregation clause

In the recent Supreme Court decision AIG Europe Ltd v Woodman & Ors [2017] UKSC 18 the court considered the meaning of the words “a series of related matters or transactions” within an aggregation clause in order to determine whether various claims under a professional indemnity insurance policy could be aggregated. The appeal was unanimously allowed, and the Supreme Court stated that the relevant wording must mean that the transactions must be interconnected in order to be aggregated.

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Commercial Court rejects assertion of arbitrator bias

In the recent decision in H v L, M, N and P [2017] EWHC 137 (Comm) in the Commercial Court, Mr Justice Popplewell addressed an attempt by the Claimant, H, to remove M, the third arbitrator in a arbitration between H and L, on the basis that the conduct of M gave rise to an appearance of bias. Mr Justice Popplewell rejected H’s claim – none of the grounds advanced by H, either individually or cumulatively, established any circumstances which gave rise to any justifiable doubts as to the impartiality of M.

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Court of Appeal confirms that payment of money into escrow account is not an insured loss under a liability policy

 

In WR Berkley Insurance (Europe) Limited v Teal Assurance Company Limited [2017] EWCA Civ 25, the Court of Appeal upheld the first instance decision of Mr Justice Eder, and confirmed that the payment of monies into an escrow account did not constitute an insured loss under a liability insurance policy.

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Supreme Court confirms only parliament can start formal Brexit process

London partner Becket McGrath has posted a Cooley alert on the recent decision of the Supreme Court in relation to the Brexit process, which can be read here.

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Court of Appeal dismisses appeal by insurer relating to the operation of a notification clause

In Zurich Insurance PLC v Maccaferri Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 1302 the Court of Appeal considered the notification provisions of a policy, held by the respondent (Maccaferri), which covered accidental death and personal injury (“the policy”). The policy contained a condition precedent which required Maccaferri to give the appellant insurer (Zurich) notice in writing “as soon as possible after the occurrence of any event likely to give rise to a claim”. Maccaferri was also required to give “immediate notice” to Zurich on receiving verbal or written notice of any claim.

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