Liability Underwriters Group annual conference
4–6 September • Queen’s College, Cambridge • Unforeseen exposures faced by the liability insurance market continue to manifest themselves, many in a disastrous form. As these are identified, interesting legal issues..
Lloyd’s and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) have recently announced they are, separately, to retain mediation providers. Lloyd’s and the International Underwriting Association are setting up a series of alternative dispute resolution clinics in the..
Arguments for and against compulsory professional indemnity (PI) cover, primarily in relation to independent financial advisers (IFAs), are aired in the Financial Services Authority (FSA) consultation paper on its new Integrated Prudential Sourcebook.
While recognising the..
The fallout from the demise of Independent Insurance spreads apace. Tasty parts of the dismembered corpse have been snapped up by other insurers. Royal & SunAlliance (RSA) paid £3mn for Independent’s loss adjusting arm Property..
Crowe Italia, a subsidiary of Lloyd’s syndicate Crowe, is to pull out of the Italian motor liability market. This is because of legislation that, among other things, blocks any increase in most motor liability tariffs..
A 12-year court battle for injury compensation for victims of polluted air has been settled in Japan for ¥1.52bn. Parties to the settlement are Chubb Electric Power and nine other major firms, paying compensation to..
Carter award stands
as US supreme court rejects Brown & Williamson appeal. A Florida jury awarded US$750,000 damages in a product liability suit, finding that cigarettes were defective and that the manufacturer had negligently failed..
A New Jersey federal judge has dismissed a 14-year asbestosrelated racketeering lawsuit by Prudential Insurance of America against United States Gypsum (USG) and six other former asbestos manufacturers. This is by ruling that the limitation..
What we are asking for are good, honest and socially just structured settlements that have been embraced and work well in the UK, Canada and the US. When people receive common law compensation for personal..
First major award after adjustment of Ogden tables.
A wheelchair-bound graduate was awarded £3.3mn in respect of cerebral palsy due to a midwife’s error leading to brain damage at birth.
Boddison v Didley Health Authority •..
A new guide summarising key sections of the Financial Services and Markets Act and other relevant documents has been produced by Simon Morris, financial services partner of CMS Cameron McKenna.
www.cmck.com/lawnow • tel 020 7367 2702
City-based Kemp & Co has become the first law firm to be registered with the Law Society as a limited liability partnership (LLP), changing its name to Kemp Little LLP. Specialising in technology issues, many..
A report by the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies on the impact on civil litigation of legal aid reforms suggests professional negligence actions are those most suited to conditional fee arrangements (CFAs), ‘because they have..
The annual review of the work of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for the year ending 31 March 2001 includes reports and statistics for the eight complaints-handling schemes now covered by the FOS.
During the period..
Legal services ombudsman Ann Abraham has stated she does not foresee the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) ‘achieving long-term quality breakthrough’.
In trying to meet targets set by the Lord Chancellor it seems the..
The Law Commission has put forward proposals that discretion should be applied to allow claims from criminals for injuries sustained from their victims.
At present such claims are precluded by the theory that a criminal may..
Datamonitor’s UK Personal Injury Litigation 2001
report warns of a growing surge in personal injury claims. Last year saw 744,000 personal injury and illness claims arising from an estimated 10.4mn accidents. A growth of 30%..
The Lord Chancellor is investigating allegations raised by law firm Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) that the basis of the currently accepted rate of investment return is erroneous.
While the Lord Chancellor has assumed an average..
The discount rate for personal injury multipliers is to be reduced from 3%, set in 1998, to 2.5%. The discount rate is the amount deducted from personal injury awards to reflect the interest that can..
Having already confirmed that after-the-event (ATE) premiums are recoverable under the provisions of the Access to Justice Act 2000, the court of appeal has now delivered a reserved judgment on most of the outstanding issues..
A low-cost insurance scheme targeting 2mn uninsured drivers and offering minimal liability coverage only has failed to attract drivers. During the four-year pilot programme there were only 26 takers in San Francisco.
Possible factors are the..
Marilyn MacMillan of Canada, who still suffers the effects of severe head injuries from a car crash in icy conditions, has been awarded C$6mn (one-third of which is interest as the case dated back to..
The Korean Financial Supervisory Service is to lift restrictions on insurance premiums for private and business cars and motorcycles from 1 August this year.
This will allow a premium cut of up to 11% for first-time..
Amendments to Japan’s compulsory motor liability insurance system, to be implemented on 1 April 2002, will end the government’s reinsurance scheme, leaving this to the open market. A new body to protect the victims of..
As from 1 June this year a change in the rules of compulsory motor liability insurance in Malaysia allows motorists suffering damage to their vehicles through the fault of another to claim directly from their..
There are only 5mn cars on Iranian roads but last year’s death rate rose 10% to 17,000. Quoting traffic expert Mahmoud al-Kateb, the newspaper Entekhab
reported their estimated cost as US$2bn a year. State insurers..
Slovakia’s state-owned insurer Slovenska Poistovna technically loses its monopoly as of 1 August 2002 although provisions for signing insurance contracts with other companies take effect as of 1 January 2002.
At this date a Slovak Office..
As many as 82% of Italian whiplash claims are fraudulent, according to figures from the Lombard unit of the International Association of Insurance Law. Fraud in general is seen as a significant reason for rising..
Pointing out that uninsured driving in Ireland cost I£95mn last year, the Irish Insurance Federation stepped up its call for an update of the National Vehicle File to show the existence (or not) of insurance.
Two pedestrians were injured when after mutual exchange of insults, a car was driven at them in what the police are treating as a racist attack in troubled Burnley.
It will be interesting to see whether..
A prototype system put together by Swedish transport safety research organisation Autoliv could provide an equivalent of passenger seatbelt safety to pedestrians. An impact-triggered gas device lifts the bonnet a few inches before contact between..
Having received A$18mn in commission over the last three years, during which time solicitors in New South Wales were required to obtain compulsory professional indemnity insurance from HIH, the New South Wales Law Society faces..
Partial settlement has been achieved by Barings’ liquidator, Ernst & Young, in the £1bn high court negligence action against former auditors. While both sets of auditors deny failure of duty, Coopers & Lybrand is negotiating..
The withdrawal of appeal to the House of Lords by discharged bankrupt John Dennison against the decision by the court of appeal that an insolvency practitioner could call on personal pensions and retirement annuity contracts..
The Auditing Practices Board (APB) is to warn auditors to improve financial reporting practices to prevent companies from booking artificially high profits.
In particular it warns against the import of certain US accounting methods. Andersen recently..
The high court is currently hearing a challenge from Needler Financial Services and Collegiate Insurance to the 1997 decision of the Personal Investments Authority (PIA) that demutualisation windfalls should not be deducted from compensation for..
Research carried out for the Financial Services Authority suggests the majority of the 11mn existing endowment mortgages were missold, with 60% of customers being told the product would generate enough money to pay off the..
Alaska is the first US state to legislate regulation of water and air pollution from cruise ships carrying 50 or more passengers. Other states are expected to follow suit. More than 750,000 passengers and crew..
The Plainview Water District, providing drinking water to 35,000 New York residents, seeks punitive damages of US$2bn and US$500mn compensation for a gasoline spill at a now-closed Mobil station. Plainview alleges Exxon was aware of..
Canadian air quality measurement company AirZone has developed a means of tracking tiny grains of pollen from genetically modified (GM) farm crops as they drift over wide areas to non-GM crops. A reengineering of an..
Genetically modified crop developer Aventis will argue in the high court that information provided to the Pesticides Safety Directorate should not be passed on to an environmental organisation.
Aventis claims the information, given to support the..
Despite the views of president George Bush, the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS) in the US is working with the US Environmental Protection Agency to develop a framework for addressing risk management issues related..
A report published in June 2001 by Salter Baxter and Environmental Context has found almost half of Britain’s largest companies ignored government requests to disclose information on their environmental and social performance. If the companies..
The Health & Safety Executive has published comprehensive guidance on the prevention of work-related stress. It is estimated that half a million people in the UK suffer work-related stress at levels causing illness, with a..
Among all the new and imaginative heads of claim and means of amelioration of working conditions, oldfashioned greed remains. Leicester crown court has fined Fresha Bakeries, Harvestime and three of their executives more than £500,000..
The second report by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), Employee absence: a survey of management policy and practice
, indicates that sickness absence costs the UK economy £12bn a year, taking account of..
The Health & Safety Executive has issued new warnings to rail companies calling for action to address dangers including the overrunning of red lights.
Although the number of SPADs (signals passed at danger) fell by 20%..
Consultant Alban Barros D’Sa, examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons, who was suspended from Walsgrave Hospital almost two years ago, had his reinstatement refused despite the recommendation of an independent panel.
The suspension took place..
The 55-year-old railway guard who saved lives after the Paddington rail crash has been dismissed, with payment of around £18,000. Colin Paton had not been able to resume his work since 1999, suffering panic attacks..
Following academic studies indicating that women earn 18% less than men, a government-sponsored inquiry will address gender-related work issues. It will also explore possible changes to accounting rules requiring companies to include details of pay..
A number of measures designed to reduce ill-founded claims reaching employment tribunals are in force from 16 July of this year. Responding to calls from the business world, some measures seem to be directed at..
Egyptian authorities, rejecting suggestions of copilot suicide as causing the 1999 SU-GAP crash and 217 deaths, have sent their report to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). This is believed to call for closer..
In the introduction to his annual report, chief marine accident inspector John Lang blamed marine accidents largely on poor safety standards arising from ‘the lengths that some shippers will go to make a profit… They..
The Belgian presidency of the EU, from 1 July, is expected to highlight issues of maritime safety and the need for environmentally friendly freight transport.
In particular, there will be pressure for speedy implementation of legislation..
The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund has increased its percentage of claims to be paid in respect of the 1999 spill off the coast of France from 60% to 80%. This follows clarification of the..
Acme Rent-A-Car faces a complaint filed against it by the Connecticut Consumer Protection Department. This is not for supplying dodgy cars but for using GPS tracking devices to check and penalise customers exceeding speed limits.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is seeking a maximum fine of US$4.5mn against Wal-Mart, Sam’s Warehouse and equipment maker Icon Health & Fitness for failure to report accidents and injuries to customers trying out..
The lengthy progress of the bill giving almost 300mn patients rights and power to sue health maintenance organisations and insurers if treatment is denied has moved infinitesimally forward.
This is through an agreement to exempt employers..
The Class Action Fairness Bill has been introduced into US Congress with the support of insurance associations. The aim is to correct a ‘serious flaw’ in federal jurisdiction statutes and allow multistate lawsuits to be..
The increasing costs of asbestos litigation have forced building materials manufacturer United States Gypsum (USG) to seek chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. USG’s major subsidiaries have also filed. These include US Gypsum, which has received more..
The Association of British Insurers has sent a confidential letter to 254 members, seeking a £5mn voluntary rescue package for the Chester Street shortfall, according to a report in the Financial Times
. This is to..
The French government is considering extending early retirement provisions for shipyard workers exposed to asbestos. At present those exposed before 1975 can benefit but unions are pressing for this to be brought up to 1997,..
Five asbestos cases are to be considered by the court of appeal in November, led by Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services and Others
, which could well proceed on to the House of Lords.
In February Mr..
In a written decision at the Scottish Court of Session, Lord Carloway has allowed three different cases to be amended to include the new ‘English’ (Fairchild) defence.
In the lead case Patrick Gilbride is suing six..
The Department of Health (DoH) has set up a working group, chaired by Prof Liam Donaldson, to consider alternatives to current compensation for clinical negligence.
Under consideration are a fixed-tariff scheme (based on the level of..
A report from the Royal Society by Prof Brian Spratt and colleagues calls for rigorous monitoring of depleted uranium (DU) exposure through kidney and urine tests and weapons testing to obtain better data.
It has also..
The US$56.5mn award against American Home Products to Gloria Lopez for heart damage alleged to have been caused by diet drug ‘fen-phen’ has been cut by 84%. This was through application of Texas law limits..
The thigh bones of thousands of dead babies were removed without parental consent between 1959 and 1970 in a joint investigation between the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Medical Research Council to study risks..
The French supreme court has approved the principle of compensation for a disabled teenager whose mother would have had an abortion had she been told of his disabilities.
His mother has already received compensation of £65,000..
Called into question by a previous ruling, the right of reinsurers – under a market slip containing a claims cooperation clause – to have a say in settlement and/or admission of liability is upheld. And..
Employers owe employees a duty to take reasonable care not to expose them to working conditions that were ‘reasonably foreseeably likely’ to subject them to stress likely to cause psychiatric injury. Such injury should be..
Where an employee, also a trade union official, is promoted to a post carrying a higher salary but the pay rise is not paid until resignation from union position, this constitutes a breach of section..
A lump sum paid as part of a negotiated termination of employment is not payment for breach of contract and therefore not subject to tax relief. It is a payment derived from employment.
Richardson (Inspector of..
The UK’s rule that workers must complete 13 weeks of continuous employment with the same company to qualify for paid annual leave was ruled unlawful. This was on interpretation of article 7 of Council Directive..
In arriving at a sum compensating for lost pension rights, in a case of unfair dismissal, a tribunal erred in taking account solely of the employer’s contributions where the pension involved lump sum rights as..
Disciplinary action against a police officer cannot continue after his retirement because of the expiry of his contract of employment.
Surrey Police Authority v Beckett • Queen’s Bench Division •
The Times • 5 July 2001
The issue was an appeal against the striking-out of a negligence action against solicitors who issued, but failed to serve, a writ in children’s claim for the death of their mother in a road accident...
Where the secretary of state for the Home Department had delegated the running of an immigration detention centre to a security company, any claims of malicious prosecution brought by an inmate lay with that company,..
If upheld on expected appeal, a ruling in Chester county court could provide a path for the virtual end of after-the-event (ATE) insurance, despite the outcome of Callery v Gray
A passenger, injured in a car..
Determining a preliminary issue in a claim arising from a road accident in Greece, it was held that while the applicable law (under section 11 of the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995) was..
In a ruling based on two simple, low-value road accident claims, but with far wider implications, the court of appeal has in effect ruled against defendant insurers and in favour of lawyers and providers of..
The ninth annual report of CJD Surveillance Unit
shows a continued higher incidence in the north of Britain compared with the south. Analysis by occupational data remains inconclusive. The death of the first elderly patient..
A more personal presentation than is usual for
LRI, this exposition of the Australian situation from law reform advocate Judie Stephens of Sydney deals compellingly with policies and their impact on individuals – like us!
Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone is to take an additional charge of ¥68bn (US$548mn) to cover further costs of Firestone tyre recalls. This is expected to put Bridgestone’s results into the red for the first time since..
Research led by Gideon Lack of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, has found a possible trigger for the rapidly rising number of children suffering peanut allergy, which can trigger sudden and violent/lethal reaction.
An ongoing study based..
Denise DiFede is seeking US$5mn for ‘severe pain and mental anguish’ after taking part in a demonstration of a legal point during a lecture.
Prof Gary Munneke, knowing she had not done her preparatory reading and..
A class action has been launched in a Brooklyn court against French railway SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) by Holocaust survivors, accusing the company of profiting from the transport of many thousands of..
The court of appeal has refused a woman funding for a surrogate birth. The woman lost her womb and baby through obstetric mismanagement. She was awarded £80,000, mainly for pain and suffering, but was refused..
Mould in buildings is nothing new, but a US$32.1mn award by the state court in Austin, Texas has attracted the attention of insurers and potential claimants.
Melinda Ballard of Dripping Springs, Texas alleged that Farmers Insurance..
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