Coupland v Arabian Gulf Oil Co: QBD 1983

The plaintiff employee, injured whilst working for the defendant in Libya, sued in contract and tort. The judge held that Libyan law was the proper law of the contract, but that this was of no relevance to the claim in tort which could proceed here if the plaintiff could satisfy the double actionability rule. The defendant argued that the English double actionability rule should not be applied because there was a Libyan contract.
Hodgson J said: ‘It is clear that the ordinary rule in tort is that the law of the place where the action is being brought – the lex fori – is the law to be applied. To find an exception to that rule one has to find as issue, which is decided differently by the two jurisprudences, which is capable of being segregated and which can then be decided by an application of what, in effect by the back door, is the proper law of that issue. But before one can do that one has to have some substantial difference between the two systems of law. In this case (as I have demonstrated) the only possible candidate for segregation would be the rule in Libyan law that social security benefits are not deductible from an award of general damages. But that contention is not advanced by Mr Hartley Booth for the plaintiff (and properly so it seems to me), for that rule is, in my judgment, a rule for the quantification of damage and not a rule dealing with a head of damage. And if it is a rule dealing with the quantification of damage, then it is for the law of this country to prevail.’


Hodgson J


[1983] 1 WLR 1136


England and Wales

Cited by:

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The claimant who was Dutch, was a widow of a fisherman who had died at sea. The question on appeal was ‘in assessing damages for loss of dependency should benefits resulting from the loss be deducted from the damages?’ The claimant’s position under . .
CitedErnst Kastner v Marc Jason, Davis Sherman, Brigitte Sherman CA 2-Dec-2004
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CitedCox v Ergo Versicherung Ag SC 2-Apr-2014
The deceased army officer serving in Germany died while cycling when hit by a driver insured under German law. His widow, the claimant, being domiciled in England brought her action here, claiming for bereavement and loss of dependency. The Court . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Benefits, International, Damages

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.180552