On 12 February 2009 the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in Greene Wood & Mclean LLP v Templeton Insurance Ltd. Templeton, incorporated in the Isle of Man, brought an appeal against the first instance decision ((2008) EQHC 1593 (Comm)) which permitted Greene Wood & Mclean LLP (GWM) to serve proceedings on it out of the jurisdiction on the basis that the claim was within CPR 6.20(5)(c).
GWM were a firm of solicitors responsible for proceedings on behalf of miners against their trade unions and former solicitors in relation to the handling of the miners' personal injury claims. GWM had applied for a group litigation order (GLO) which named the solicitors and trade unions as respondents.
Templeton had underwritten an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy which covered the claimants' liability for the respondents' costs if the claimants lost, including disbursements. The GLO application was unsuccessful and substantial costs fell to be paid by the miners which Templeton refused to pay. GWM paid respondents' costs in order to uphold their promise to the miners that they would not have to pay those costs.
GWM were granted permission by the court to serve Templeton out of the English jurisdiction as regards its contribution claim against Templeton on the ground that the insurers' liability arose in connection with a contract governed by English law, the ATE policy, and was therefore within CPR 6.20(5)(c).
Templeton appealed against the decision that GWM were entitled to seek a contribution from Templeton pursuant to the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 for the costs paid to the miners and asserted that CPR 6.20(5)(c) only applied to contracts made between the parties to the proposed litigation, which the ATE was not.
Accordingly, the Court of Appeal had to determine whether the claim for contribution made under the 1978 Act was "a claim in respect of a contract" as was required by CPR 6.20(5)(c) for service out of the jurisdiction. GWM and Templeton were not the intended claimant and the intended defendant in respect of the ATE (the miners and Templeton were the intended claimant and the intended defendant) and this raised a query over whether GWM's claim for contribution from Templeton was "a claim in respect of a contract". Longmore LJ submitted that to say that "a claim in respect of a contract" had to be "in respect of a contract between the intended claimant and the intended defendant" was to add words to the rule and that in his opinion GWM's claim had a clear connection with a contract (the ATE) governed by English law. Moreover, the remoteness of the contract was something that would be decided when the court considered jurisdiction under CPR 6.21(2A).