Mulcaire v News Group Newspapers Ltd: ChD 21 Dec 2011

The claimant, a private investigator had contracted with the News of the World owned by the defendant but since closed. He had committed criminal offences in providing information for the paper, had been convicted and had served his sentence. He said that he had an agreement with the defendant that they would indemnify him against civil claims both as to costs and damages. They had done so, but when pressed by a Select Committee had said they would not do so further. The defendant now said that there had been no contract since their offer had been rejected by a counter offer made by the claimant as to the provision of further information, and furthermore was unlawful.
Held: His claim succeeded. Both parties had acted for some time on the basis that a contract of indemnity was in place. The offer had not required his signature for acceptance. The issue of the information was not one governed by the offer, and were collateral. The rule against claiming an indemnity against one’s own criminal conduct does not apply where the acts have already occurred.

Morritt J Ch
[2011] EWHC 3469 (Ch), [2012] Ch 435, [2012] 2 WLR 831
England and Wales
CitedHyde v Wrench ChD 8-Dec-1840
The defendant offered to sell his land to the plaintiff for andpound;1000. The plaintiff counter-offered andpound;950, which was rejected. The plaintiff then said that he accepted the original offer.
Held: Lord Langdale MR said: ‘there exists . .
CitedAgbaje v Akinnoye-Agbaje SC 10-Mar-2010
The parties had divorced in Nigeria, but the former wife now sought relief in the UK under section 10 of the 194 Act. The wife said that she lived here, but the order made in Nigeria was severely detrimental requiring her either to live here in . .
AppliedRTS Flexible Systems Ltd v Molkerei Alois Muller Gmbh and Company Kg (UK Production) SC 10-Mar-2010
The parties had reached agreement in outline and sought to have the contract formalised, but went ahead anyway. They now disputed whether an agreement had been created and as to its terms if so.
Held: It was unrealistic to suggest that no . .
CitedIn Re Spenborough Urban District Council’s agreement; Spenborough Corporation v Cooke Sons and Company Ltd ChD 1968
A contract regulating the flow of industrial effluents into a public sewer contained no power of termination notwithstanding that the agreement it replaced did.
Held: There is no presumption in law that a joint venture is not terminable.
CitedAttorney General of Belize and others v Belize Telecom Ltd and Another PC 18-Mar-2009
(Belize) A company had been formed to manage telecommunications in Belize. The parties disputed the interpretation of its articles. Shares had been sold, but the company was structured so as to leave a degree of control with the government. It was . .
CitedHardy v Motor Insurers’ Bureau CA 1964
The court was asked whether insurance pursuant to the Road Traffic Act 1960 would provide valid cover for the benefit of a third party injured by deliberately criminal conduct on the part of the driver.
Held: Diplock LJ said: ‘The rule of law . .
CitedLancashire County Council v Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd CA 3-Apr-1996
The defendant agreed to indemnify the insured ‘in respect of all sums which the insured shall become legally liable to pay as compensation arising out of’ various matters including wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. The . .
CitedChurchill Insurance v Charlton CA 2-Feb-2001
The victim of an unlawful act of a driver off-road sought damages from another driver and his insurers. The insurers refused to pay.
Held: There is a balance to be found between the statutory purpose of compulsory motor insurance and the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.450247