Insurance litigation—United Kingdom—Q&A guide

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Insurance litigation—United Kingdom—Q&A guide
  • 1. In what fora are insurance disputes litigated?
  • 2. When do insurance-related causes of action accrue?
  • 3. What preliminary procedural and strategic considerations should be evaluated in insurance litigation?
  • 4. What remedies or damages may apply?
  • 5. Under what circumstances can extracontractual or punitive damages be awarded?
  • 6. What rules govern interpretation of insurance policies?
  • 7. When is an insurance policy provision ambiguous and how are such ambiguities resolved?
  • 8. What are the mechanics of providing notice?
  • 9. What are a policyholder’s notice obligations for a claims-made policy?
  • More...

Insurance litigation—United Kingdom—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to insurance litigation in United Kingdom published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: May 2021).

Authors: Signature Litigation—Hermès Marangos

1. In what fora are insurance disputes litigated?

In England and Wales, insurance disputes are litigated in the following fora of the civil courts:

  1. County Courts;

  2. the High Court;

  3. the Court of Appeal; and

  4. the UK Supreme Court (although only on appeal from either the High Court or the Court of Appeal).

Claims with a value of more than £100,000 can generally be issued in the High Court in the first instance, otherwise appeals may be heard here from the relevant County Court. If the dispute in question involves particularly complex insurance or reinsurance issues, then it may be heard in the Commercial Court (a specialist part of the Queen's Bench Division). Judges in the Commercial Court have extensive experience specific to the disputes over which they preside. Disputes that require financial market expertise will likely be heard in the Financial List of the Commercial Court.

It is commonplace for a reinsurance contract to contain an arbitration clause. If correctly drafted (and therefore enforceable), the parties will have to resolve their dispute via arbitration, which may be conducted under ad hoc rules or those of a particular arbitral institution.

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