Charles Dougherty QC and Isabel Barter join major practitioner text

Charles Dougherty QC and Isabel Barter have joined Professional Negligence and Liability (ed M Simpson QC, Informa) as expert contributors. Professional Negligence and Liability is the most comprehensive practitioner work on professional negligence.

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Lucinda Spearman successful in High Court appeal on the law applicable to interest under Rome II

On 6 November 2020, Mr Justice Griffiths handed down judgment in Troke and Allen v Amgen Seguros Generales Compania de Seguros y Reaseguros SAU (formerly RACC Seguros Compania de Seguros v Reaseguros SA) [2020] EWHC 2976 (QB), the first High Court (or higher) judgment to determine conclusively the law applicable to the award of interest under Regulation (EC) 864/2007 (the Rome II Regulation). The court held that the lex fori governs the award of interest under Rome II.

The Claimants were in a road traffic accident in December 2014 in Spain. Liability was admitted, and it was agreed that the claim fell within the scope of Rome II. The only issue in dispute was the law applicable to the awards of interest claimed on special and general damages.

The Claimants argued that the applicable law was Spanish law as the lex causae, which, it was said, provided for a mandatory rate of interest to be awarded where an insurer failed to pay an interim payment within 3 months of the accident. They contended that the English court was accordingly compelled to award interest in accordance with Spanish law, giving them an interest award of over £13,500. The Defendant contended that awards of interest were a matter of procedure, and should accordingly be governed by the lex fori. In addition, the Defendant argued that the relevant Spanish law provision was itself procedural in nature.

The Defendant was successful at first instance, and the Claimants were awarded interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984, at a rate of 2% on general damages from the date of service of the claim form and 0.5% on special damages from the date on which they were incurred. This gave the Claimants a total interest award of just over £260.

The Claimants appealed to the High Court, arguing that interest was a matter of substance for the lex causae. The Defendant cross-appealed, arguing that the Claimants had not proved their right to interest under Spanish law as a matter of fact and that the interest claims should therefore fail.

The High Court dismissed the Claimants’ appeal, holding that an award of interest was characterised as a procedural matter under Article 1(3) of Rome II. The law of the forum (i.e. the law of England and Wales) therefore applied. The relevant Spanish law on interest was also procedural in nature: it concerned the provision of an interim payment, which had the quality of procedural matters, and imposed a penalty interest rate, which was a procedural sanction.  There was no substantive right to interest at Spanish rates to be awarded under the lex causae. The judge was entitled to award interest at English rates. The cross-appeal did not fall to be considered.

In the future, therefore, interest in claims brought in England and Wales that fall within the scope of Rome II will be awarded in accordance with the English court’s wide discretionary powers under either section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 or section 35A of the Senior Courts Act 1981. Although corresponding interest provisions under the lex causae are a factor which the court may take into account in exercising its power to award interest, the English court will retain a total discretion per the domestic legislation.

This decision will have a considerable impact on the approach to interest in Rome II cases in the future. It is also a welcome development in this complex area of law, clarifying considerable ambiguities in earlier authorities on the point (cf. for example: Maher and anr v Groupama Grand Est [2010] 1 WLR 1564; Knight v Axa Assurances [2009] EWHC 1900 (QB); XP v Compensa Towarzystwo SA and anr [2016] EWHC 1728 (QB); As Latvijas Krajbanka v Antonov [2016] EWHC 1679 (Comm)).

For a copy of the judgment, please click here.

Lucinda Spearman was instructed by Irwin Mitchell LLP and appeared for the successful Defendant.

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Jessica van der Meer and Ruth Kennedy Appointed to Attorney General’s Public International Law C Panel

Members of Chambers are delighted to announce that Jessica van der Meer and Ruth Kennedy have been appointed to the Attorney General’s Public International Law C panel of junior counsel.

The Attorney General maintains three advisory panels of junior counsel to undertake civil and EU work for all government departments. There are three London panels, three regional panels and three public international law panels.

The new appointment is effective from Friday 30th October 2020 for a period of five years.

Information on Jessica’s and Ruth’s practices can be found via the links below.

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The Times reports on the 2TG/The Times National Moot Final held on 11 September 2020

Congratulations to the winners Maya Chilaeva and Tey Khoo and runners-up Kim Pullinger and Matt Bignell of the 2TG/The Times National Moot Final which took place remotely on 11 September 2020 with Michael de Navarro QC, Howard Palmer QC and Sarah Vaughan Jones QC presiding.

Catherine Baksi reported in The Times Law Diary on 22nd October 2020

The article can be accessed here

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2TG Chambers & Partners Rankings

We are delighted to announce our rankings for the Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2021 legal directory to include 14 new rankings in Commercial Dispute Resolution, Clinical Negligence, Employment, Insurance and Product Liability; an improved set ranking for Product Liability; we remain top ranked for Travel and Property Damage.

2TG now has a total of 70 members rankings across 12 practice areas.

Our clerking team is also recognised as a leader at the Bar for providing excellent client service.

Many thanks to all of our clients and referees for the very kind comments we have received.

Please click on the following to find details of our:-

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Helen Bell and Anna Hughes selected for The Bar Council Leadership Programme

2TG are delighted to announce Helen Bell and Anna Hughes have been chosen as members of the Bar Council’s inaugural Leadership Programme.

The programme provides a professional development opportunity enabling a select group of barristers to fulfil their potential and to play an active role in building a positive and inclusive culture at and across the Bar and in society as a whole. 118 barristers applied and 36 were selected to be part of a network of future Bar leaders.

The Bar Council Leadership Programme

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2TG welcome 2 new tenants and 2 new pupils

We are delighted to welcome Kate Legh and James Partridge as tenants of chambers from 1 October 2020 and congratulate them on the successful completion of their pupillages. They will both be practising across chambers’ core areas.

We would also like to welcome our new pupils, Lauren Hitchman and Conor Ewing.

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Sarah Vaughan Jones QC shortlisted for Clinical Negligence Silk of the Year at The Chambers Bar Awards 2020

We are delighted Sarah Vaughan Jones QC has been shortlisted by Chambers & Partners for Clinical Negligence Silk of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2020.

To be shortlisted is as a result of extensive objective research by Chambers & Partners’ team of over 200 analysts and acknowledges individuals and teams at the pinnacle of the profession.

The 2020 Chambers Bar Awards will be held virtually on Thursday 19 November 2020.

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