We reported on the AIG Europe Limited v OC320301 decision of Teare J in our bulletin of 24 September 20151. The claims aggregation language in the relevant policy, mirroring the Minimum Terms and Conditions for Solicitor’s PI insurance, provided for aggregation of claims arising from similar acts or omissions “in a series of related matters or transactions”. Teare J placed a narrow construction on this clause and determined that it required the matters or transactions to be “dependent” on each other, and since 214 claims were not so dependent, they were not to be aggregated.
Today, the Court of Appeal, in an expedited hearing, disagreed with Teare J (and adopted a broader construction which neither party had submitted as their primary case) and remitted the case back to the High Court for determination in the light of its decision. Based on submissions from the SRA, the Appeal Court has ruled instead that the matters or transactions must have an intrinsic relationship with each other, not an extrinsic relationship with a third factor (it would not be enough, for example, that the transactions were conducted by the same solicitor, or related to the same geographical area).
This case is the first to rule on these aggregation provisions and is of obviously great importance to the PI market.