On 18 June 2021, the same seven-judge constitution of the Supreme Court handed down judgment in two appeals. Both cases arose from acts of professional negligence, one on the part of accountants, the other on the part of a GP. In both cases, the Court once again sought to make sense of the analytical tool which was effectively created by Lord Hoffmann in SAAMCo. This brief note explains the parameters of the debate, the context into which the majority of the Court decided to frame their deliberations, and what was decided.
When Dinah Washington sang “What a difference a day makes” it seems unlikely that she had in mind the limitation period in an accountant’s negligence case. However, the difference that a day makes, was precisely the issue in Matthew v Sedman. The Supreme Court found, as had the Court of Appeal and HHJ Hodge QC before it, that where a cause of action accrues at the stroke of midnight the whole of the day after midnight falls to be included in the computation of time for limitation purposes.
In Zurich Insurance PLC v Niramax Group Limited, dealing with a contract pre-dating the Insurance Act 2015, the Court of Appeal held that to establish inducement in cases of non-disclosure it was necessary for the insurer to show that the non-disclosure was an efficient cause of the underwriter writing the insurance on less onerous terms than would have been the case had the disclosure been made. It is not sufficient merely to establish that the less onerous terms would not have been imposed ‘but for’ the non-disclosure. The case highlights an issue as to whether the same result would be reached under the Insurance Act 2015. The Appellant was represented by Graham Eklund QC and Carl Troman and the Respondent by Ben Elkington QC and Ben Smiley, all of 4 New Square.
The decision is considered by Miles Harris of 4 New Square.
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Enforcement of Worldwide Freezing Orders after Brexit: this article explores the profound changes to the regime for the recognition of English judgments and interim orders on the European continent following the UK’s departure from the EU, with a particular focus on interim Worldwide Freezing Orders. The article provides practical guidance for those looking to enforce an interim order in proceedings commenced after 31 December 2020.
Sir Rupert Jackson’s talk to a group of judges on the evening of 20 April 2021.