Bedfordshire Police Authority v Constable and others: ComC 20 Jun 2008

The authority insured its primary liability for compensation under the 1886 Act through the claimants and the excess of liability through re-insurers. The parties sought clarification from the court of the respective liabilities of the insurance companies and as to whether the compensation under the Acts counted as damages under the policies. The syndicate said that damages are quintessentially sums which fall to be paid by reason of some breach of duty or obligation.
Held: The question for consideration is what the document would convey to a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would have reasonably been available to the parties at the time of the contract. There was no clear evidence that the parties had considered the detailed provisions carefully, but was rather a collection of standard clauses. There was no reason to think that the purpose of the Underlying Policy was anything other than the protection of the police fund against claims by third parties for personal injury or damage to property. The claimant was entitled to be indemnified by the defendant pursuant to the Excess Policy in respect of any liability of the claimant to pay compensation under the 1886 Act.

Walker J
[2008] EWHC 1375 (Comm), [2009] Lloyd’s Rep IR 39, [2009] 2 All ER (Comm) 200
Police Act 1996, Riot (Damages) Act 1886
England and Wales
CitedRe Hooley Hill Rubber and Royal Insurance Co CA 1920
When interprting a contract, it is assumed that the draftsman works with a view to certainty of sense and standardisation of terms. Bankes LJ said: ‘Courts should be chary in interfering with the interpretation given to a well-known document and . .
CitedToomey v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd CA 1994
The word ‘reinsurance’ is often used loosely simply to describe any contract of insurance which is placed by or for the benefit of an insurer, but it should be construed more properly to require the insurance of an insurable interest in the subject . .
CitedInvestors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society HL 19-Jun-1997
Account taken of circumstances wihout ambiguity
The respondent gave advice on home income plans. The individual claimants had assigned their initial claims to the scheme, but later sought also to have their mortgages in favour of the respondent set aside.
Held: Investors having once . .
CitedSunport Shipping Limited, Prometheus Maritime Corporation, Celestial Maritime Corporation, Surzur Overseas Limited v Tryg-Baltica International (UK) Ltd (Formerly Know As Colonia Baltica Insurance Ltd) and others CA 24-Jan-2003
(The ‘Kleovoulos of Rhodes’) A large quantity of cocaine was discovered by divers behind a grille in a sea chest at the vessel’s discharge port, Aliveri – having been placed there by unknown third persons at the load port in Colombia, South America. . .
CitedYorkshire Water Services Ltd v Sun Alliance and London Insurance Plc and Others (1) CA 20-Aug-1996
The court was asked whether the costs of flood alleviation works were recoverable under public liability insurance policies.
Held: A claim for the costs of remedial action taken to mitigate future losses were not covered by the terms of the . .
CitedF and K Jabbour v Custodian of Israeli Absentee Property 1953
The court was asked as to the effect of foreign regulations on the ownership of a right of action under an insurance policy, and for that purpose examined whether the plaintiff’s claim against the insurance company was a ‘mere right to claim . .
CitedHall Brothers Steamship Company Limited v Young CA 1939
The shipowners appealed a decision that the underwriters were not liable under collision liability clause. Their ship had collided with another at Dunkirk when the steering gear failed. Under french law the pilot was not liable since he had not been . .
CitedTesco Stores Ltd v Constable and others CA 16-Apr-2008
Tesco voluntarily agreed to indemnify a third party for economic loss. When that third party claimed under the indemnity for economic losses arising out of damage to property of another, Tesco sought to claim under its own public liability insurance . .
CitedTioxide Europe Ltd v CGU International Plc and others CA 20-Jul-2005
The court considered how an insurance contract should be construed. Langley J said: ‘The general principle is that the proper construction is to be determined by the ordinary and natural meaning of the words used in the contractual and commercial . .
CitedCharterhouse Development (France) Limited v Sharp ChD 1998
French courts had held the claimant liable to remedy the deficiency of an insolvent company’s assets under a French law. The insured now sought repayment by its insurers, who denied that this was a payment of damages.
Held: The payment was . .
CitedLancashire County Council v Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd CA 3-Apr-1996
The defendant agreed to indemnify the insured ‘in respect of all sums which the insured shall become legally liable to pay as compensation arising out of’ various matters including wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. The . .
MentionedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedCharter Reinsurance Co Ltd v Fagan and Others HL 24-May-1996
The re-insurers appealed against a finding that they were liable to make payment under a contract which required them to pay ‘sums actually paid.’ They said that the company having become insolvent, no payment would in fact be made.
Held: The . .
CitedJ W Dwyer Ltd v Metropolitan Police District Receiver 1967
The owner of a jewellery shop claimed to recover compensation from the police for damage to his shop in a smash and grab raid. Since there were more than 3 robbers, the police accepted that there had been a riot but defended the claim on the basis . .
CitedDH Edmonds Ltd v East Sussex Police Authority CA 6-Jul-1988
The plaintiffs Brighton jewellers sought compensation from the police authority for a raid on their premises by three or four men. Kenneth Jones J at first instance held that the incident did not involve a tumultuous assembly and accordingly the . .
CitedFord v Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District 1921
Bailhache J considered a claim under the 1886 Act: ‘There must be judgment for the plaintiff, and the question of the quantum of damages must be referred.’ . .
CitedKaufmann Brothers v Liverpool Corporation KBD 1916
It was argued that a claim under the 1886 Act was a claim for ‘alleged neglect or default’ within the meaning of the 1893 Act, so that the claim was time-barred under that Act.
Held: The argument failed. The 1893 Act did not apply.
Lush J . .
CitedPitchers v Surrey County Council 1923
In 1919 there was a riot involving Canadian soldiers from a local Camp. They released fellow soldiers in custody and raided the officers’ mess, and damaged and stole the contents of a tailor’s shop and other shops known as ‘Tin Town’ – a group of . .
CitedBearmans Ltd v Metropolitan Police District Receiver CA 1961
Sellers LJ said: ‘The second plaintiffs had paid some andpound;5,000 for that theft; and for their respective losses these plaintiffs sought to recover damages under the Riot (Damages) Act, 1886’
The court considered that a liberal approach . .
CitedBartoline Limited v Royal Sun Alliance plc 2007
The claimant sought an indemnity under the Public Liability Section of a Combined Policy for: (i) expense incurred by the Environment Agency under section 161 of the Water Resources Act 1991 cleaning up water courses of pollutants after a fire on . .
CitedScott (for and Behalf of All Underwriting Members of Syndicates 401 and 857 at Lloyd’s) v The Copenhagen Reinsurance Company (UK) Ltd CA 16-May-2003
Where an insurance policy required damage to have been caused by an insured risk, the causative link had to be a significant rather than a weak one.
Determining whether transactions are related is therefore an acutely fact sensitive exercise, . .

Cited by:
See AlsoYarl’s Wood Immigration Ltd and others v Bedfordshire Police Authority ComC 30-Sep-2008
The owners of the Yarslwood Immigration centre sought damages under the 1886 Act after a riot at the centre caused substantial damage.
Held: The claim failed: ‘The fact that YWIL and GSL [the appellants] were acting as public authorities . .
Appeal fromBedfordshire Police Authority v Constable CA 12-Feb-2009
The police had responded to a riot at Yarlswood detention centre. They had insurance to cover their liability under the 1886 Act, but the re-insurers said that the insurance did not cover the event, saying that the liability was for statutory . .
See AlsoYarl’s Wood Immigration Ltd and Others v Bedfordshire Police Authority CA 23-Oct-2009
The claimant sought to recover the costs of damage to their centre following a riot, saying that under the 1886 Act, they were liable. It appealed against a ruling that they were unable to claim as a public authority, saying that the 1886 Act was . .
CitedThe Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co (Europe) Ltd and Others SC 20-Apr-2016
The Court considered the quantification of damages to be awarded to a business suffering under riots under the 1886 Act, and in particular whether such recoverable losses included compensation for consequential losses, including loss of profits and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Insurance

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.270220