Co-Operative Retail Services Limited and others v Taylor Young Partnership and others: HL 25 Apr 2002

Whilst a substantial new building was being constructed, it was damaged by fire caused by the negligence of several contractors. The case concerned apportionment of liability.
Held: The appeal failed. The parties could by agreement vary the normal rules which would apportion damages. Here one party had been required to assume responsibility for fire damage, and to insure accordingly. That party was not however liable to contribute unless they were ‘liable in respect of’ the fire damage, but section 6(1) could not be read so as to make liable to restore damaged work a person from whom the employer is ‘entitled to recover compensation’ in respect of the fire damage to the works. For 1(1), they were not a person liable in respect of the fire damage to the works and the appellants cannot recover contribution from them.
Where it is agreed that the insurance shall inure to the benefit of both parties to the contract, they cannot claim against each other in respect of an insured loss. This an implied term of the contract of insurance and/or of the underlying contract between the co-insureds pursuant to which their interests were insured.


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Steyn, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry


[2002] UKHL 17


House of Lords, Bailii


Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 1(1) 6(1)


England and Wales


CitedCaledonian North Sea Ltd v London Bridge Engineering Ltd and Others HL 7-Feb-2002
Substantial personal injury claims had been settled following the Piper Alpha disaster. Where a contractual indemnity had been provided under a contract, and insurance had also been taken out, but the insurance had not been a contractual . .
Appeal fromCo-operative Retail Services Ltd v Taylor Young Partnership, Hoare Lea and Partners (a Firm) and Others CA 4-Jul-2000
A building owner entered into a standard form of building contract for the construction of office premises. Under its terms the contractor was required to take out and maintain a policy in the names of the owner, the contractor and specialist . .
CitedMark Rowlands v Berni Inns Ltd CA 1985
The plaintiff owned the freehold and had let the basement to the defendant. The plaintiff insured the building. The defendant covenanted to pay to the plaintiff an insurance rent equal to the proportionate cost of insuring the part of the building . .

Cited by:

CitedScottish and Newcastle plc v GD Construction (St Albans) Ltd CA 22-Jan-2003
The employer and main contractor had contracted under the JCT conditions. The employer had been obliged to insure the property for fire in their joint names, but had not done so. After a fire caused by the negligence of a sub-contractor, he sued. . .
CitedGard Marine and Energy Ltd and Another v China National Chartering Company Ltd and Another SC 10-May-2017
The dispute followed the grounding of a tanker the Ocean Victory. The ship was working outside of a safe port requirement in the charterparty agreement. The contract required the purchase of insurance against maritime war and protection and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Construction, Damages, Negligence

Updated: 03 August 2022; Ref: scu.171309