Smith (by his Mother & Litigation Friend Bonner) V (1) Stratton (2) Motor Insurers’ Bureau CA (Civ Div), 08/12/2015

The appellant (A) had been a passenger in a car driven by the First Defendant (D1). The vehicle was involved in a collision and A suffered a severe brain injury. He claimed damages from D1, whose insurers were entitled to avoid the policy for non-disclosure and misrepresentation, thus leaving the MIB liable to meet any unsatisfied judgment. The MIB claimed that A had been involved in a joint enterprise to supply drugs at the time of the accident, and consequently sought to avoid liability under either the MIB Compensation of Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999 (which states that the MIB is not liable where a claimant has allowed himself to be carried in a vehicle used in the course of crime or to avoid lawful apprehension) or the ex turpi causa maxim. The judge was satisfied that the MIB had proven that the appellant had been involved in drug dealing on the evening of the accident (a conclusion which was, in part, based on hearsay evidence from D1) and he held that the exclusion in the agreement applied. He concluded that ex turpi causa was also applicable since the accident had been caused by the criminal act, rather than being incidental to it (per Joyce v O’Brien [2013] EWCA Civ 546, [2014] 1 W.L.R. 70). The judge concluded that the MIB was not liable to meet any judgment against D1. A contended that the judge was wrong to take D1’s hearsay evidence into account and had wrongly applied the ex turpi causa principle.

HELD: The judge had rightly regarded the various points cumulatively. His factual conclusion was not only open to him, it was one the instant court would also have reached. He had also correctly cited and applied the ex turpi causa maxim. Appeal dismissed.

January 15, 2016 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases