Assicurazioni Generali Spa v Arab Insurance Group (BSC): CA 13 Nov 2002

Rehearing/Review – Little Difference on Appeal

The appellant asked the Court to reverse a decision on the facts reached in the lower court.
Held: The appeal failed (Majority decision). The court’s approach should be the same whether the case was dealt with as a rehearing or as a review. Tanfern was limited to appeals from interlocutory orders. The judge had seen the witnesses, and his assessment was to be interfered with only with great caution. It was not suggested here that the evidence should be reheard.
To prove inducement the insurer or reinsurer must show that the non-disclosure or misrepresentation was an effective cause of his entering into the contract on the terms on which he did. The judge was correct that ARIG had not shown that, if it had known the full facts, it would not have entered into the contracts or would have taken some other share. There was no basis for the court to interfere with that conclusion.
Ward LJ (dissenting) said: ‘I take the law to be this: if it be established that the representee did not allow the representation to affect his judgment in any way then he could not make it a ground for relief. If on the other hand the representee relied on the misrepresentation, then the representor cannot defeat his claim for relief by showing that there were other more weighty causes which contributed to his decision to enter into the contract. In this field the Court does not allow an examination of the relative importance of contributory causes. In other words, it is sufficient if the representation is a cause even if it is not the cause operating on the mind of the representee when he enters into the contract’.
Ward LJ discussed the difficulties of an appeal court reviewing a trial judges finding of fact, saying: ‘Bearing these matters in mind, the appeal court conducting a review of the trial judge’s decision will not conclude that the decision was wrong simply because it is not the decision the appeal judge would have made had he or she been called upon to make it in the court below. Something more is required than personal unease and something less than perversity has to be established . . I would pose the test for deciding whether a finding of fact was against the evidence to be whether that finding by the trial judge exceeded the generous ambit within which reasonable disagreement about the conclusion to be drawn from the evidence is possible. The difficulty or ease with which that test can be satisfied will depend on the nature of the finding under attack. If the challenge is to the finding of a primary fact, particularly if founded upon an assessment of the credibility of witnesses, then it will be a hard task to overthrow. Where the primary facts are not challenged and the judgment is made from the inferences drawn by the judge from the evidence before him, then the Court of Appeal, which has the power to draw any inference of fact it considers to be justified, may more readily interfere with the evaluation of those facts.’
Clarke LJ said: ‘The approach of the court to any particular case will depend upon the nature of the issues kind of case determined by the judge. This has been recognised recently in, for example, Todd v Adams and Chope (trading as Trelawney Fishing Co) [2002] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 293 and Bessant v South Cone Inc [2002] EWCA Civ 763. In some cases the trial judge will have reached conclusions of primary fact based almost entirely upon the view which he formed of the oral evidence of the witnesses. In most cases, however, the position is more complex. In many such cases the judge will have reached his conclusions of primary fact as a result partly of the view he formed of the oral evidence and partly from an analysis of the documents. In other such cases, the judge will have made findings of primary fact based entirely or almost entirely on the documents. Some findings of primary fact will be the result of direct evidence, whereas others will depend upon inference from direct evidence of such facts.
In appeals against conclusions of primary fact the approach of an appellate court will depend upon the weight to be attached to the findings of the judge and that weight will depend upon the extent to which, as the trial judge, the judge has an advantage over the appellate court; the greater that advantage the more reluctant the appellate court should be to interfere. As I see it, that was the approach of the Court of Appeal on a ‘rehearing’ under the Rules of the Supreme Court and should be its approach on a ‘review’ under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.
Some conclusions of fact are, however, not conclusions of primary fact of the kind to which I have just referred. They involve an assessment of a number of different factors which have to be weighed against each other. This is sometimes called an evaluation of the facts and is often a matter of degree upon which different judges can legitimately differ. Such cases may be closely analogous to the exercise of a discretion and, in my opinion, appellate courts should approach them in a similar way.
In Todd’s case [2002] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 293, where the question was whether a contract of service existed, Mance LJ drew a distinction between challenges to conclusions of primary fact or inferences from those facts and an evaluation of those facts, as follows, at p 319-320, para 129:
‘With regard to an appeal to this court (which would never have involved a complete rehearing in that sense), the language of ‘review’ may be said to fit most easily into the context of an appeal against the exercise of a discretion, or an appeal where the court of appeal is essentially concerned with the correctness of an exercise of evaluation or judgment – such as a decision by a lower court whether, weighing all relevant factors, a contract of service existed. However, the references in rule 52.11(3)(4) to the power of an appellate court to allow an appeal where the decision below was ‘wrong’ and to ‘draw any inference of fact which it considers justified on the evidence’ indicate that there are other contexts in which the court of appeal must, as previously, make up its own mind as to the correctness or otherwise of a decision, even on matters of fact, by a lower court. Where the correctness of a finding of primary fact or of inference is in issue, it cannot be a matter of simple discretion how an appellate court approaches the matter. Once the appellant has shown a real prospect (justifying permission to appeal) that a finding or inference is wrong, the role of an appellate court is to determine whether or not this is so, giving full weight of course to the advantages enjoyed by any judge of first instance who has heard oral evidence. In the present case, therefore, I consider that (a) it is for us if necessary to make up our own mind about the correctness or otherwise of any findings of primary fact or inferences from primary fact that the judge made or drew and the claimants challenge, while (b) reminding ourselves that, so far as the appeal raises issues of judgment on unchallenged primary findings and inferences, this court ought not to interfere unless it is satisfied that the judge’s conclusion lay outside the bounds within which reasonable disagreement is possible. In relation to (a) we must, as stated, bear in mind the important and well-recognised reluctance of this court to interfere with a trial judge on any finding of primary fact based on the credibility or reliability of oral evidence. In the present case, however, while there was oral evidence, its content was largely uncontentious.’ . . Neuberger J stressed that the question whether there was a contract of service on the facts involved the weighing up of a series of factors. Thorpe LJ agreed with both judgments.’


Ward, Clarke LJJ, Sir Christopher Staighton


Times 29-Nov-2002, Gazette 23-Jan-2003, [2002] EWCA Civ 1642, [2003] 1 WLR 577, [2003] Lloyds Rep IR 131, [2003] 1 All ER (Comm) 140




Civil Procedure Rules 52.11


England and Wales


ExplainedTanfern Ltd v Cameron-MacDonald, Cameron-MacDonald CA 12-May-2000
The court gave detailed guidance on the application of the new procedures on civil appeals in private law cases introduced on May 2. Appeals from a County Court District Judge’s final decision in a multi-track case could now go straight to the Court . .
CitedIn re Grayan Building Services Ltd CA 1995
The degree to which an appellate court will be willing to substitute its own judgment for that of the tribunal will vary with the nature of the question. Hoffmann LJ said: ‘The concept of limited liability and the sophistication of our corporate law . .
CitedSS Hontestroom v SS Sagaporack HL 1927
The court discussed the weight to be given by an appellate court to findings of fact made by the court of first instance.
Held: Not to have seen the witnesses puts appellate judges in a permanent position of disadvantage as against the trial . .
CitedThe Ikarian Reefer CA 1995
The court reversed the decision of the trial judge that the plaintiff insured shipowners had not deliberately scuttled their vessel or cast her away: ‘(1) The burden of showing that the trial Judge was wrong lies on the appellant . . (2) When . .
CitedAkerhielm v De Mare PC 1959
A company prospectus contained the following: ‘About a third of the capital has already been subscribed in Denmark.’ Though the directors believed this to be true, it was not true at the time the prospectus was issued.
Held: The statement was . .
CitedTodd and Others v Adams and Another CA 18-Apr-2002
The boat owners had failed to comply with the 1975 safety rules, and seamen died. The boat owners relied upon the restriction on damages in the 1995 Act, and the seamen’s families argued that the failure to apply the safety rules removed that . .
CitedBessant and others v South Cone Incorporated; in re REEF Trade Mark CA 28-May-2002
The Reef pop group applied to register ‘REEF’ for Classes 25 and 26 – e.g. T-shirts, badges, etc. South Cone opposed them as registered proprietors of ‘Reef Brazil’ for the footwear which also was included in Class 25. South’s reputation was . .
CitedMehdi Norowzian v Arks Ltd and Guinness Brewing Worldwide Limited (No 2) CA 11-Nov-1999
The claimant film artist showed a film to an advertising agency, who did not make use of it, but later appeared to use techniques and styles displayed in the film in subsequent material sold to third parties.
Held: A film was protected as a . .
CitedSt Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co (UK) Ltd v McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd CA 1995
The court discussed the general principles as to the meaning of ‘inducement’ in the context of insurance contract.
Held: If the three underwriters who gave evidence had been told the truth, on no view would they have underwritten the insurance . .
CitedJEB Fasteners Ltd v Marks, Bloom and Co CA 1981
Accountants prepared audited accounts knowing that the company was in financial difficulties, and the the accounts would be relied upon by the plaintiffs.
Held: The accountants owed a duty of care to the plaintiffs. They knew that they would . .
CitedSmith v Chadwick HL 18-Feb-1884
Unclear Words Insufficient as Representation
A purchaser claimed to have entered into the contract in reliance on the truth of a misrepresentation by the seller. The plaintiff claimed damages for deceit through having been induced to buy shares in an iron company by false representations in a . .
CitedEdgington v Fitzmaurice CA 7-Mar-1885
False Prospectus – Issuers liable in Deceit
The directors of a company issued a prospectus, falsely stating that the proceeds were to be used to complete alterations to the buildings of the company, to purchase horses and vans and to develop the trade of the company. In fact it was to pay off . .
CitedRedgrave v Hurd CA 1881
The plaintiff, an elderly solicitor wishing to retire, advertised for someone to enter into partnership with him and to buy his house. The defendant responded to the advertisement and negotiations followed, in which the plaintiff stated that the . .
CitedAbrahams v Mediterranean Insurance and Reinsurance Co Ltd 1991
. .
CitedJoyce v Yeomans CA 1981
The court discussed how an appellate court should defer to the assessment of a judge at first instance of the value of an expert witness.
Brandon LJ said: ‘even when dealing with expert witnesses, a trial judge has an advantage over an . .
CitedPan Atlantic Insurance Co Ltd and Another v Pine Top Insurance Co Ltd HL 27-Jul-1994
The plaintiff had written long term (tail) insurance. The defendant came to re-insure it. On a dispute there were shown greater losses than had been disclosed, and that this had been known to the Plaintiff.
Held: ‘material circumstance’ which . .
CitedThe Glannibanta CA 1876
‘Now we feel, as strongly as did the Lords of the Privy Council in the cases just referred to [The Julia 14 Moo P.C. 210 and The Alice L.R. 2 P.C. 245], the great weight that is due to the decision of a judge of first instance whenever, in a . .
CitedNocton v Lord Ashburton HL 19-Jun-1914
The defendant solicitor had persuaded his client to release a charge, thus advancing the solicitor’s own subsequent charge on the same property. The action was started in the Chancery Division of the High Court. The statement of claim alleged fraud . .
CitedBiogen Plc v Medeva Plc HL 31-Oct-1996
The claim patented sought to protect a genetic molecule rather than a whole mouse namely that the molecule would, if inserted into a suitable host cell, cause the cell to make antigens of the Hepatitis B virus. A recombinant method of making the . .

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A right of pre-emption had misdescribed the property when it was registered. The land was transferred without regard to the right of pre-emption. It was found as a fact that no money passed for the transfer, and the claimants said the unregistered . .
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Each claimant sought damages for a criminal assault for which the defendant was said to be responsible. Each claim was to be out of the six year limitation period. In the first claim, the proposed defendant had since won a substantial sum from the . .
CitedLondon Borough of Southwark v Kofi-Adu CA 23-Mar-2006
The authority complained that during the course of the trial, the judge had repeatedly intervened during oral evidence.
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The defendant appealed a finding of deceit. Having issued its certificate as to the quality of a cargo of gasoline, it then failed to disclose to the party who had paid it to produce the certificate, information it had which cast doubt on the . .
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The claimants sought payment for water damage under their policies. The insurer alleged non-disclosure. The judge had found the claimants to be honest, and criticised the defendants witnesses. The claimants had been involved in companies which had . .
ApprovedDatec Electronics Holdings Ltd and others v United Parcels Services Ltd HL 16-May-2007
The defendants had taken on the delivery of a quantity of the claimant’s computers. The equipment reached one depot, but then was lost or stolen. The parties disputed whether the Convention rules applied. UPS said that the claimant had agreed that . .
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The court was asked, whether asked to grant possession against a disabled tenant where the grounds for possession were mandatory. The defendant was a secure tenant with a history of psychiatric disability. He had set out to buy his flat, but the . .
CitedHaw and Another v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court Admn 12-Dec-2007
The defendants appealed convictions for contempt of court, on the basis of having wilfully interrupted the court. The respondent said that no appeal lay.
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The receiver appealed against an order finding that the debtor petitioner was not domiciled here when the order was made. The debtor had a domicile of origin in England, but later acquired on in the Isle of Man. He then acquired a home in Mauritius . .
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The claimant police officer had been held after an accident when he was in a high speed pursuit of a vehicle into the neighbouring respondent’s area. The prosecution had been discontinued, and he now appealed against rejection of his claims for . .
CitedBrennan and others v Sunderland City Council Unison GMB EAT 16-Dec-2008
No Waiver for disclosure of Advice
EAT PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: Admissibility of evidence
The claimant sought disclosure of certain legal advice on the basis that its effect, and a summary of its contents, had been put before the court and . .
CitedCharania v Harbour Estates Ltd CA 27-Oct-2009
The defendant appealed against the award of the estate agent’s fees, acting under a sole agency agreement. The agreement had been terminated. A buyer who had seen the property first under the agency later returned and negotiated a purchase.
CitedGarratt v Saxby CA 18-Feb-2004
There had been a Part 36 offer to settle the action. It was disclosed inadvertently to the judge.
Held: There had been no serious procedural irregularity, and fairness and justice did not require a rehearing before different judge. . .
CitedHussain v Hussain and Another CA 23-Oct-2012
The claimant appealed against rejection of his claim for damages after a car accident. The defendants argued that the claim was fraudulent. The defendant driver had been involved in other collisions found to be fraudulent. The claimant appealed . .
CitedDresdner Kleinwort Ltd and Another v Attrill and Others CA 26-Apr-2013
The bank appealed against judgment against it on claims by former senior employees for contractual discretionary bonuses.
Held: The appeal failed. The bank’s unilateral promise made within the context of an existing employment relationship to . .
CitedGladman Commercial Properties v Fisher Hargreaves Proctor and Others CA 14-Nov-2013
The claimant appealed against the striking out of his claims for fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation as to the suitability for deveopment of two former fire service properties. The court had said that a settlement with co-tortfeasors operated . .
CitedWhitehead v Bruce and Others CA 21-Mar-2013
The three defendants each appealed against apportionment of liability for serious personal injuries incurred in a road traffic accident. The first defendant a motor cycle driver, with the claimant his pillion passenger took suddent action to evade a . .
CitedHome Office v Lowles CA 29-Jul-2004
The defendant appealed against finding of liability. The claimant, an officer ar Armley Prison had been redirected to a side entrance. There was a ramp, but at the top was a two inch step. The parties had disputed the exact circumstances of the . .
CitedPlevin v Paragon Personal Finance Ltd SC 12-Nov-2014
PPI Sale – No Recovery from Remote Parties
The claimant sought repayment of payment protection insurance premiums paid by her under a policy with Norwich Union. The immediate broker arranging the loan was now insolvent, and she sought repayment from the second and other level intermediaties. . .
CitedFortune and Others v Wiltshire Council and Another CA 20-Mar-2012
The court considered the contnuation of public rights of way against the new system of the ending of certain unrecorded rights.
Held: he appeal failed. ‘As a matter of plain language, section 67(2)(b) does not, in our judgment, require the . .
CitedMichalak v General Medical Council and Others SC 1-Nov-2017
Dr M had successfully challenged her dismissal and recovered damages for unfair dismissal and race discrimination. In the interim, Her employer HA had reported the dismissal to the respondent who continued their proceedings despite the decision in . .
CitedShagang Shipping Company Ltd v HNA Group Company Ltd SC 5-Aug-2020
Allegations had been made that a contract had been procured by bribery. The other party said that the admissions of bribery had been extracted by torture and were inadmissible. The CA had decided that the unproven possibility that it was obtained by . .
CitedActavis Group Ptc EHF and Others v Icos Corporation and Another SC 27-Mar-2019
The court considered: ‘the application of the test of obviousness under section 3 of the Patents Act 1977 to a dosage patent. In summary, a patent, whose validity is not challenged, identified a compound as an efficacious treatment but did not . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Civil Procedure Rules, Professional Negligence, Insurance, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 11 February 2022; Ref: scu.178103