Negative Declarations
Produced in partnership with Camilla McPherson
Negative Declarations

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Camilla McPherson provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Negative Declarations
  • What is a negative declaration?
  • Power of the court to grant a negative declaration
  • Negative declarations and other countries
  • Negative declarations and Part 8 claims
  • Declaration in respect of a future event
  • Declaration in respect of facts
  • Declarations against an insurer
  • Advantages and disadvantages of seeking a negative declaration
  • Making an application for a negative declaration
  • More...

This Practice Note explains what a negative declaration is and then considers the power of the High Court to make a negative declaration. It sets out the principles the court will apply when determining whether to make a negative declaration and provides guidance on how to make an application for a negative declaration. Finally it provides examples of judgments in which the court has considered such applications.

What is a negative declaration?

A declaration is essentially a statement made by the court at the request of a party. This might be in relation to the rights of a party to a dispute or to the existence of certain facts or as to a principle of law, in each case where those rights, facts or principles have been established to the satisfaction of the court. as set out in Financial Services Authority v Rourke. A negative declaration is simply a declaration framed in the negative. For guidance on declarations generally, see Practice Note: Declaratory relief.

The ability to obtain a negative declaration is not limited to cases involving contractual rights as explained by the Court of Appeal in Wright v Granath. A negative declaration can take various forms, for example that:

  1. the courts of a particular jurisdiction do not have jurisdiction to hear a dispute

  2. there has been no breach of patent

  3. an insurer is not liable to

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