Cox 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 was asked whether German or UK law applied to the assessment of the damages.
Held: Broadly, German law was similar to the English common law before the Fatal Acidents Acts. It was unnecessary to classify the sections 1A, 3 and 4 of the Fatal Accidents Act as procedural or substantive, because they were irrelevant. If substantive, they were irrelevant because the substantive law in this case is German law. They do not lay down general rules of English law relating to the assessment of damages, even in personal injury actions, but only rules applicable to actions under the Act itself. Our general law of damages approximated to the German Law.

Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Mance, Lord Sumption, Lord Toulson, Lord Hodge
[2014] WLR(D) 150, [2014] UKSC 22, UKSC 2012/0225, [2014] 1 AC 1379, [2014] 2 WLR 948, [2014] 1 CLC 430, [2014] 2 All ER 926, [2014] RTR 20
WLRD, Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary
Regulation EC 44/2001, Fatal Accidents Act 1976 1(1) 1(2), Fatal Accidents Act 1846
England and Wales
CitedBaker v Bolton and others KBD 8-Dec-1808
The plaintiff and his wife had been thrown from the roof of a coach. The plaintiff sought damages for the loss of his wife’s ‘comfort, fellowship, and assistance’.
Held: The claim failed in part: ‘the jury could only take into consideration . .
CitedRoerig v Valiant Trawlers Ltd CA 28-Jan-2002
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 . .
Appeal fromCox v Ergo Versicherung Ag CA 25-Jun-2012
The deceased member of the armed forces had died in a road traffic accident in Germany. The parties didputed whether the principles governing the calculation of damages were those in the 1976 Act and UK law, or under German law.
Held: ‘There . .
At first instanceCox v Ergo Versicherung Ag and Another QBD 28-Oct-2011
The deceased died in a road traffic accident whilst serving in the Armed forces in Germany. The driver was insured under German law. The widow now claimed damages in England. She had entered a new relationship.
Held: The object of section 844 . .
CitedHarding v Wealands HL 5-Jul-2006
Claim in UK for Accident in Australia
The claimant had been a passenger in a car driven by his now partner. They had an accident in New South Wales. The car was insured in Australia. He sought leave to sue in England and Wales because Australian law would limit the damages.
Held: . .
CitedSeward v The Vera Cruz HL 1884
The House was asked to rule upon the nature of a fatal accident claim as established by the 1846 Act, Lord Campbell’s Act – was it such as to be within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Division?
Held: Earl of Selbourne LC said: ‘Lord . .
CitedPhrantzes v Argenti CA 1960
The court was asked to enforce payment of a dowry which was owed under Greek law.
Held: English law does not guarantee a remedy for every foreign cause of action. Lord Parker CJ said that to be available in support of a foreign cause of . .
CitedClark (Inspector of Taxes) v Oceanic Contractors Inc HL 16-Dec-1982
HL Income tax, Schedule E – Non-resident employer – Employees working in U.K. sector of North Sea – Whether employer liable to deduct tax from emoluments – Income Tax (Employments) Regulations 1973 – Income and . .
CitedCoupland 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 . .
CitedDavidsson v Hill CA 1901
Ships collided at sea. The negligent crew were aboard the British ship. A crew member on the Norwegian ship died in the collision, and his family sued here.
Held: The family had a right of action against the defendant owners of the British . .
CitedBoys v Chaplin HL 1969
The plaintiff sued in England for a traffic accident which had happened in Malta. The law of Malta would have denied certain elements of damages which would be available in this jurisdiction.
Held: Liability in respect of the road accident in . .
CitedThe Esso Malaysia 1974
A Russian seaman died as the result of a collision in international waters between two foreign registered vessels. His family sought to claim here.
Held: The benefit of the Fatal Accidents Acts can, in principle, be claimed by a foreigner. The . .
CitedM’Elroy v M’Allister SCS 4-Nov-1948
The court rejected the renvoi doctrine in tort. An act done in a foreign country was actionable in Scotland only if it was, if done in Scotland, a tort, and was also actionable according to the law of the place in which it was done. . .
CitedSouth Australia Asset Management Corporation v York Montague Ltd etc HL 24-Jun-1996
Limits of Damages for Negligent Valuations
Damages for negligent valuations are limited to the foreseeable consequences of advice, and do not include losses arising from a general fall in values. Valuation is seldom an exact science, and within a band of figures valuers may differ without . .
CitedRaffelsen Zentralbank Osterreich Ag v Five Star General Trading Llc and Others CA 1-Mar-2001
An assigned marine insurance policy was subject to a claim. The issue was the ability of an assignee to claim as a claim in contract where the proper law was that under which the contract was made, or a claim of an intangible right to claim against . .
CitedKuwait Airways Corporation v Iraqi Airways Company and Others (Nos 4 and 5) HL 16-May-2002
After the invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi government had dissolved Kuwait airlines, and appropriated several airplanes. Four planes were destroyed by Allied bombing, and 6 more were appropriated again by Iran.
Held: The appeal failed. No claim . .
CitedSerco Ltd v Lawson; Botham v Ministry of Defence; Crofts and others v Veta Limited HL 26-Jan-2006
Mr Lawson was employed by Serco as a security supervisor at the British RAF base on Ascension Island, which is a dependency of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena. Mr Botham was employed as a youth worker at various Ministry of Defence . .
CitedDuncombe and Others v Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (No 2) SC 15-Jul-2011
The court considered whether a teacher employed by the Secretary of State to teach in one of its European Schools was entitled to protection against unfair dismissal.
Held: The claimants’ appeals were allowed and the cases remitted to the . .
CitedRavat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd SC 8-Feb-2012
The respondent was employed by the appellant. He was resident in GB, and was based here, but much work was overseas. At the time of his dismissal he was working in Libya. The company denied that UK law applied. He alleged unfair dismissal.
CitedDuncombe and Others v Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (No 2) SC 15-Jul-2011
The court considered whether a teacher employed by the Secretary of State to teach in one of its European Schools was entitled to protection against unfair dismissal.
Held: The claimants’ appeals were allowed and the cases remitted to the . .

Cited by:
CitedMoreno v The Motor Insurers’ Bureau SC 3-Aug-2016
The claimant had been severely injured when hit by a car in Greece. The car’s driver was uninsured. The Court was now asked whether the scope of her claim to damages was to be determined in accordance with English or Greek law. The implementation of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

European, Damages, Personal Injury

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.523422