Judgment appealed:  EWCA Civ 926
This case considers a declare for contribution introduced in opposition to Allgemeines Krankenhaus Viersen GmbH (“AKV”) who, as a 3rd get together pursuant to the Civil Legal responsibility (Contribution) Act 1978 (“the 1978 Act”), the defendants declare is liable in respect of the identical harm as they’re.
The events agree that the claimant’s declare in opposition to the defendants (The Troopers, Sailors, Airmen and Households Affiliation and the Ministry of Protection (who agreed to indemnify the SSAFA)) is ruled by German legislation, that any legal responsibility of the third get together to the claimant can also be ruled by German legislation and that, making use of home alternative of legislation guidelines, German legislation would apply to the contribution declare until the 1978 Act has overriding impact. If the contribution declare is ruled by German legislation it’s time barred. Nevertheless, the defendants keep that the 1978 Act has overriding impact with the end result that limitation is ruled by the legislation of England and Wales and the contribution declare will not be time barred.
At first occasion, it was held that the 1978 Act has overriding impact and applies regardless of home alternative of legislation guidelines. The Courtroom of Enchantment agreed, dismissing AKV’s enchantment. AKV now appeals to the Supreme Courtroom.
HELD – The Supreme Courtroom unanimously allowed the enchantment.
The problem earlier than the courtroom is whether or not the 1978 Act has overriding impact in order that it applies to all contribution claims introduced in England and Wales, or whether or not it applies solely when home alternative of legislation guidelines point out that the contribution declare in query is ruled by the legislation of England and Wales.
The 1978 Act doesn’t present expressly that it has overriding impact. It doesn’t present that the 1978 Act applies regardless of the international legislation in any other case relevant to the contribution declare. The query is whether or not such an intention have to be implied from the provisions of the statute. Three statutory provisions have been recognized variously by the Courtroom of Enchantment as supporting overriding impact: sections 1(6), 2(3)(c) and seven(3). The Supreme Courtroom, nonetheless, considers these provisions equivocal. Their efficacy will not be dependent upon overriding impact. Specifically, even within the absence of overriding impact, part 1(6) shall be efficient in lots of conditions corresponding to the place the events to the contribution declare are in a particular relationship ruled by the legislation of England and Wales.
Nothing within the admissible Parliamentary supplies or the legislative historical past helps the view that the laws was supposed to have overriding impact. Nevertheless, the Invoice was a Legislation Fee Invoice and statements by the Fee in different reviews counsel it was not supposed to have overriding impact. The load of educational commentary strongly favors the view that the 1978 Act doesn’t have overriding impact.
The courtroom thought of Parliamentary supplies and the legislative historical past of the Act, in addition to statements made by the Legislation Fee and authorities. It was held that the load of educational commentary strongly favored the view that the 1978 Act doesn’t have overriding impact.
The Supreme Courtroom was influenced particularly by two concerns. First, there shall be many conditions through which a contribution declare shall be ruled by the legislation of England and Wales, not withstanding the truth that the underlying liabilities are ruled by a international legislation. Secondly, it’s tough to see why Parliament ought to have supposed to confer a statutory proper of contribution every time the get together from whom contribution is sought could be introduced earlier than a courtroom on this jurisdiction, whatever the legislation with which the contribution declare has its closest connection . A failure of international legislation to offer for contribution claims will not be a defect requiring treatment by laws on this jurisdiction. Furthermore, it will appear opposite to the precept for the legislation of England and Wales to be utilized if the contribution claims have been most intently related to a international system of legislation.
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