- Public liability insurance for deliberate acts, wilful neglect or default (Burnett or Grant (Respondent) v International Insurance Company of Hanover Ltd (Appellant))
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Do you have any practical guidance in defining 'deliberate acts'?
- Case details
Insurance & Reinsurance analysis: In this case, the Supreme Court considered an appeal by a public liability insurer concerning coverage for damages arising from ‘deliberate acts’. The key issue was whether a widow’s claim for compensation following the death of her husband in a restraint by a door steward arose from a ‘deliberate act’. The insurer argued that cover was excluded as the claim was one ‘arising out of deliberate acts, wilful neglect or default’. The insurer also argued that if the public liability section did not apply, the death was as a result of a ‘wrongful arrest’ and therefore subject to a limit of indemnity of £100,000 under that section of the policy. The court dismissed the appeal on the basis that the exclusion for deliberate acts did not apply. The case turned on whether the carrying out of a deliberate or reckless restraint amounted to a ‘deliberate act’ where there had been no intention to injure. Written by Louise Kelso, partner at Brodies LLP.
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