Negative Declarations
Produced in partnership with Camilla McPherson

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...

Negative Declarations

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

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