The Court was asked in what circumstances is it permissible to sue an unnamed defendant? The respondent was injured when her car collided with another. The care was insured but by a driver giving a false name. The car owner refused to identify him. The insurers now appealed against
Held: The appeal succeeded. It is a fundamental feature of the statutory scheme of compulsory insurance in the UK that it does not confer on victims a direct right of recovery against an insurer for the underlying liability of the driver. The only direct right against the insurer is the right to require it to satisfy a judgment against the driver, under section 151, once the driver’s liability has been established in legal proceedings.
Lord Reed, Deputy President, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lady Black
 UKSC 6,  1 WLR 1471,  PIQR P9,  Lloyd’s Rep IR 230,  RTR 15,  2 All ER (Comm) 467,  3 All ER 1,  WLR(D) 112
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD
Road Traffic Act 1988 145
England and Wales
Appeal from – Cameron v Hussain and Another CA 23-May-2017
The court was asked: ‘i) whether it is possible to obtain a judgment in respect of a claim for damages against a defendant identified only by description (‘an unnamed defendant’), in the context of a motor claim against an unidentified hit-and-run . .
Cited – Porter v Freudenberg CA 1915
A British citizen or neutral who is voluntarily resident in the enemy country is to be treated as an alien enemy when the question is asked as to his entitlement to bring proceedings in England.
An order for substituted service, which is as . .
Cited – Jacobson v Frachn CA 1927
Atkin LJ described the principles of natural justice as follows: ‘Those principles seem to me to involve this, first of all that the court being a court of competent jurisdiction, has given notice to the litigant that they are about to proceed to . .
Cited – UK Oil and Gas Investments Plc and Others v Persons Unknown Who Are Protestors ChD 3-Sep-2018
Application by the Claimants for interim injunctions until trial or further order. The injunctions sought relate to protests at sites in Surrey and Sussex where the Claimants carry out conventional oil or gas exploration and/or extraction. . .
Cited – NPV v QEL and Another QBD 28-Mar-2018
non-disclosure and harassment injunction . .
Cited – Barton v Wright Hassall Llp SC 21-Feb-2018
The claimant, a litigant in person purported to serve his statement of claim by email, but had not first sought the defendant’s agreement as required. The solicitors allowed the limitation period to expire without acknowledging service. The claimant . .
Cited – Ineos Upstream Ltd and Others v Persons Unknown ChD 21-Dec-2017
Cited – CMOC v Persons Unknown ComC 23-Oct-2017
Application for worldwide freezing relief against persons unknown. . .
Cited – Friern Barnet UDC v Adams CA 1927
The plaintiff sought the cost of certain streetworks from the relevant frontagers. They did not know their names and issued a writ against ‘the owners of’ certain land clearly identified by name. It was pointed out that only owners of that land at . .
Cited – Middleton and Another v Person or Persons Unknown QBD 28-Sep-2016
Continued Injunction against hacked materials
Application for continuation of an injunction to prevent the disclosure of private materials said to have been obtained by hacking the first claimant’s icloud account. . .
Cited – Smith v Unknown Defendant, Pseudonym ‘Likeicare’ and Others QBD 15-Jul-2016
Cited – Murfin v Ashbridge CA 1941
A road accident was caused by the alleged negligence of a driver who was identified but could not be found.
Held: While an insurer may be authorised by the policy to defend an action on behalf of his assured, he was not a party in that . .
Cited – Brett Wilson Llp v Person(s) Unknown, Responsible for The Operation and Publication of The Website www.solicitorsfromhelluk.com QBD 16-Sep-2015
The claimant solicitors sought remedies against the unknown publishers of the respondent website which was said to publish material defamatory of them, and to ampunt to harassment.
Held: The alleged defamatory meanings were not challenged by . .
Cited – Abela and Others v Baadarani ChD 24-Jul-2015
In 2002, Mr Abela and his companies entered into a share purchase agreement with Mr Baadarani. In April 2009, Mr Abela and his companies commenced proceedings in relation to a dispute arising out of that transaction. . .
Cited – IMT Shipping and Chartering Gmbh v Chansung Shipping Company Ltd, Owners Of the ‘Zenovia’ ComC 8-Apr-2009
The court considered the status and effect of a notice of approximate redelivery date and intended port given by a time charterer to an owner pursuant to the requirements of a time charter in amended New York Produce Exchange Form. In essence, the . .
Cited – South Cambridgeshire District Council v Gammell and Others CA 31-Oct-2005
Where proceedings were brought against unnamed persons and interim relief was granted to restrain specified acts, a person became both a defendant and a person to whom the injunction was addressed by doing one of those acts. . .
Cited – Gurtner v Circuit CA 1968
The Court described the gap in provision for the recovery of damages for injury where the driver of a vehicle was uninsured: ‘if (a) the defendant was not insured at the time of the accident or (b) his policy of insurance was avoided in the . .
Cited – Bloomsbury Publishing Group Ltd and J K Rowling v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others ChD 23-May-2003
The publishers had gone to great lengths to keep advance copies of a forthcoming book in the Harry Potter series secret. They became aware that some had been stolen from the printers and sought injunctions against the defendants and another unnamed . .
Cited – Hampshire Waste Services Ltd v Persons Intending to Trespass and/or Trespassing upon Incinerator Sites ChD 2003
The court granted an interlocutory injunction to restrain unknown trespassers from entering land.
The Vice-Chancellor gave the following guidance : (1) First, that the description of the defendant should not involve a legal conclusion, such as . .
Cited – Clarke v Vedel CA 1979
A person had stolen a motor cycle, collided with the plaintiffs, given a fictitious name and address and then disappeared. He was sued under the fictitious name he had given, and an application was made for substituted service on the Motor Insurance . .
Cited – EMI Recurds v Kudhail CA 1985
An order was sought against the defendasnt and unnamed defendants involved in copyright piracy.
Held: The court was prepared to make an order against the named defendant on his own behalf and as representing all other persons engaged in the . .
Cited – Campbell v Conoco (UK) Ltd and others CA 2-May-2002
Cited – Abbey National Plc v Frost (Formerly Practising As Harold Weston Frost and Co) and Solicitors’ Indemnity Fund Limited Intervenor CA 4-Feb-1999
Cited – London Borough of Enfield v Persons Unknown and Others QBD 2-Oct-2020
The council had obtained interim and final injunctions in 2017 against anticipated trespassers on its land and the order was due to expire. It now ought its extension and to amend the terms of the order.
Held: The court noted that no person . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 January 2022; Ref: scu.633461