The court granted an insured’s application for strike out and summary judgment in respect of contribution proceedings brought against the insured by its insurer relating to personal injuries caused by the insured. The court was asked to interpret the terms “in respect of” and “same damage” in Section 1(1) of the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 (the “Act”). Applying the interpretation of those terms from jurisprudence, the judge found that both terms had to be construed narrowly and that the cause of the parties’ liability had to be the same for a contribution claim under the Act to succeed. The judge ruled that the insurer was not entitled to seek a contribution from the insured since the insured was not liable in respect of the same damage as was the insurer: the insured’s liability was that of a wrongdoer having caused physical injuries, whereas, the insurer’s liability arose from a liability under a contract of insurance.

Jubilee Motor Policies Syndicate 1231 v Volvo Truck & Bus (Southern) Ltd

High Court, Queen’s Bench Division

John Bowers QC

20 December 2010