Keefe v Hoteles Piñero Canarias SL to be heard by Supreme Court

Philip Mead, a member of 12KBW’s International and Travel team, appears in the Supreme Court tomorrow, in an important case about cross-border tort and insurance jurisdictional disputes. This blog will feature a write-up of the submissions heard by the court after the hearing.

Philip appears for the appellant, a Spanish hotel company, in Keefe v Hoteles Pinero Canarias SL. The English Claimant – the respondent in this appeal – was allegedly injured in a serious accident at the hotel in 2006. As the accident occurred before January 2009, the Rome II Regulation did not apply.

The Claimant had a direct right of action against the appellant’s insurance company under Spanish law, and brought this claim in the English courts under the Judgments Regulation, following the decision of the CJEU in Odenbreit.

The insurance company – the first Defendant in the action – admitted liability to compensate, but averred that there was a limit on their liability which would fall far short of the Claimant’s estimate of his damages.

The Claimant sought permission to join the appellant hotel company as a second defendant, relying on Regulation 11(3) of the Judgments Regulation, which provides that:

‘If the law governing such direct actions provides that the policyholder or the insured may be joined as a party to the action, the same court shall have jurisdiction over them.’

The application was granted by Master Cook, and upheld on appeal by HHJ Higgins in the High Court, and then by the Court of Appeal.

Philip Mead therefore appears for the hotel in the Supreme Court, in an appeal which will provide much-needed clarity to the way in which jurisdictional provisions relating to insurance and tort overlap and interact.

Submissions in the case will be streamed live on the Supreme Court’s website.

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