British Fame v MacGregor (‘The MacGregor’): HL 1947

Two ships had collided. One party sought to appeal the apportionment of damages.
Held: The House considered the reluctance of an appellate court to interefere with an apportionment of damages applied by the court at first instance: ‘It seems to me, my Lords, that the cases must be very exceptional indeed in which an appellate court, while accepting the findings of fact of the court below as to the fixing of blame, none the less has sufficient reason to alter the allocation of blame made by the trial judge. I do not say that there may not be such cases. I apprehend that, if a number of different reasons were given why one ship is to blame, but the Court of Appeal, on examination, found some of those reasons not to be valid, that might have the effect of altering the distribution of the burden. If the trial judge, when distributing blame, could be shown to have misapprehended a vital fact bearing on the matter, that, I think, would be a reason for considering whether a change in the distribution should be made on appeal. But, subject to rare exceptions, I submit to the House that, when findings of fact are not disputed and the conclusion that both vessels are to blame stands, the cases in which an appellate tribunal will undertake to revise the distribution of blame will be rare.’


Viscount Simon, Lord-Chancellor


[1943] AC 197, [1943] 1 All ER 33


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedJoyce Andrews v Initial Cleaning Services Limited McDougalls Catering Foods Limited CA 14-Jul-1999
Employees of one company were injured whilst working cleaning the premises of another. The issue was as to apportionment of the personal injury damages between the two companies.
Held: There was an error of approach by the Recorder entitling . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Litigation Practice

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.219155