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  • Case: UKSC 2018/0114. Villiers (Appellant) v Villiers (Respondent)

    Issues:Do the courts of England and Wales have the power to stay an application for maintenance pursuant to section 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 on the grounds of forum non conveniens when divorce proceedings are taking place in Scotland? Are divorce proceedings and maintenance proceedings ‘related actions’ for the purposes of Article 13 of the Maintenance Regulation 2011? Is Schedule 6 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Maintenance) Regulations 2011 ultra vires section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972? Facts:The Appellant Husband (‘H’) and Respondent Wife (‘W’) were married in 1994 and lived almost the entirety of their married life in Scotland. Following their separation, W moved to England with the parties’ daughter and W issued a divorce petition in the English Courts. This was dismissed with W’s consent in favour of the writ of divorce which H had issued in Scotland. W also made an application under section 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in England seeking maintenance from H. H argued that the Court did not have jurisdiction to deal with this application. At first instance, at an interim hearing, Parker J considered that the English Courts did have jurisdiction and made an order that H pay W £2,500 per month in interim maintenance as well as £3,000 per month for legal funding. The Court of Appeal upheld this order.

  • Case: UKSC 2020/0091. Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi A.S. (Respondent) v OOO Insurance Company Chubb (Appellant)

    Issues: What is the correct approach to determining the proper law of an arbitration agreement? What is the relevance of the parties’ choice of law for the main contract under Rome I? What is the role of the court of the seat of an arbitration and in what circumstances is it appropriate or permissible for the English court to permit a foreign court to decide whether proceedings before the foreign court are a breach of an arbitration agreement? Facts:After a fire broke out in a power plant in Russia, Chubb Russia, the insurers of the plant’s owners brought proceedings in Russia against Enka, a subcontractor, alleging liability for the fire. Enka began proceedings in England contending that the dispute was subject to an arbitration agreement in the contract under which it had performed the works, and seeking an order that Chubb Russia discontinue the Russian Proceedings ("an anti-suit injunction"). Enka’s claim was dismissed by the High Court at first instance at an expedited trial. The Court of Appeal subsequently allowed Enka’s appeal, granting an anti-suit injunction and restraining Chubb Russia from appealing the decision of the Russian court. Chubb Russia seeks to appeal.

  • Case: UKSC 2019/0122. Equitas Insurance Ltd (Respondent) v Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd (Appellant)

    Issues: In the event of an insured employee being tortiously exposed to asbestos in multiple years of employers’ liability ("EL") insurance, and the EL insurer settling the employer’s claim without allocating the loss to any particular year of exposure, is the EL insurer obliged (in the absence of specific provision for this situation in the corresponding reinsurance) to present any outwards claim in respect of that loss on a pro rata, time on risk basis for the purpose of calculating reinsurance recoveries, because the doctrine of good faith requires the claim to be presented on that basis? If the EL insurer is not so obliged, and may present a claim to a single year of its choice, how are the rights of recoupment and contribution acquired by the reinsurers of that year to be calculated? Facts:The appellant ("MMI") is a company which specialised in providing insurance, including EL insurance, to local authorities and similar public bodies until 1992. A number of its policyholders had claims brought against them by former employees or other workers who had been negligently exposed to asbestos by the policyholders (or such claims were brought by the personal representatives of the former employees or other workers). In each case relevant to this appeal, the underlying claimant was negligently exposed to asbestos by MMI’s insured during more than one policy year for which MMI was on risk as insurer and various Lloyd’s syndicates, whose liabilities have been transferred to the respondent ("Equitas"), were on risk as reinsurers. The claims were settled by MMI without any allocation or apportionment of the settlement amounts between the applicable EL insurance policies under which MMI was liable, in accordance with MMI's understanding that it was 100% liable under each applicable policy. MMI gave notice of arbitration to Equitas on 14 June 2014 in respect of a number of reinsurance claims arising from these facts. Flaux J (as he then was) was appointed as sole judge-arbitrator pursuant to section 93 of the Arbitration Act 1996. The judge-arbitrator determined the issues in dispute in MMI's favour. Equitas then sought permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal in respect of three questions of law. Permission was granted and Equitas' appeal was allowed. MMI now appeals to the Supreme Court.

  • Case: UKSC 2018/0068. Okpabi and others (Appellants) v Royal Dutch Shell Plc and another (Respondents)

    Issues:Whether and in what circumstances the UK-domiciled parent company of a multi-national group of companies may owe a common law duty of care to individuals who allegedly suffer serious harm as a result of alleged systemic health, safety and environmental failings of one of its overseas subsidiaries as the operator of a joint venture operation.Facts:The Appellants (some 42,500 people) are citizens of Nigeria and inhabitants of the areas allegedly affected by oil leaks from pipelines and associated infrastructure, that SPDC operates on behalf of an unincorporated joint venture in which numerous participating interests are held, in and around the Niger Delta. The leaks are said to have impacted their lives, health and local environment. They contend that the Respondents are responsible. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (‘RDS’) is the parent company of the Shell group of companies, incorporated in the UK. The Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria Limited (‘SPDC’, the other Respondent) is an exploration and production company incorporated in Nigeria and is a subsidiary of RDS. The claims against RDS and SPDC are based on the tort of negligence under the common law of Nigeria which, for present purposes, is to be regarded as the same as the law of England and Wales. The claim against RDS is brought on the basis that RDS owed the claimants a duty of care either because it exercised significant control over material aspects of SPDC’s operations and/or assumed responsibility for SPDC’s operations. RDS applied under CPR Part 11(1) for orders declaring that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claims against it, or should not exercise such jurisdiction as it had. At first instance Fraser J held that there was no arguable case that RDS owed the Appellants a duty of care. The Appellants appealed to the CA against the judgment and Order of Fraser J. The CA upheld the decision of Fraser J. The Supreme Court has since clarified the law in this area, including by reference to the CA’s decision in this case, in Vedanta Resources PLC and another (Appellants) v Lungowe and others (Respondents) [2019] UKSC 20.

  • Case: UKSC 2019/0006. Alexander Devine Children's Cancer Trust (Respondent) v Housing Solutions Ltd (Appellant)

    Issues:The correct approach to the ‘public interest’ requirement on an application for the modification or discharge of restrictive covenants under section 84 of the Law of Property Act 1925.Facts:The appellant’s predecessor in title, Millgate Developments Ltd, built housing units on land near Maidenhead, in breach of restrictive covenants benefitting the adjoining land where a children’s hospice has been constructed. After the housing units were completed, Millgate applied for the modification or discharge of the restrictive covenants pursuant to s 84 Law of Property Act 1925. The Upper Tribunal granted the application, subject to the payment of compensation to the respondent, but the Court of Appeal overturned that decision and refused the s 84 application.

  • Case: UKSC 2019/0029. Uber BV and others (Appellants) v Aslam and others (Respondents)

    Issues: Whether the Respondents were "workers" providing personal services to the Second Appellant. If the Respondents were "workers", what periods constituted their "working time". Facts:The Appellants are members of a group of companies providing private hire vehicle booking services in the UK and internationally. Journeys are booked through the Appellants' smartphone app, which connects passengers to drivers. The Respondents are drivers who are or were active users of that app. The Respondents contend that, during the periods covered by their claims, they were "workers" for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Working Time Regulations 1998. As such, the Respondents claim that they were entitled to the minimum wage, paid leave and other legal protections. The Appellants argue that the Respondents were independent, third party contractors and not "workers". Following a preliminary hearing, the Employment Tribunal found that the Respondents were "workers" and that they were "working" whenever they (a) had the Appellants’ app switched on; (b) were within the territory in which they were authorised to work; and (c) were able and willing to accept assignments. These findings were upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. The Appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

  • Case: UKSC 2019/0039. Asda Stores Ltd (Appellant) v Brierly and others (Respondents)

    Issues:Whether employees in Asda’s retail operations are entitled to compare themselves with employees in the distribution centres so that they can rely on section 79(4)(c) of the Equality Act 2010 ("2010 Act") or, as regards the period covered by the Equal Pay Act 1970 ("1970 Act"), so that they are in the "same employment" as defined in section 1(6) of the 1970 Act.Facts:The case concerns equal pay claims brought by supermarket employees of Asda ("Appellant"), nearly all women ("Respondents"). They are claiming equal pay with comparators employed in the distribution depots, jobs done overwhelmingly by men. A preliminary hearing took place in the Employment Tribunal to determine whether the Respondents are entitled to compare themselves for equal pay purposes with employees working in the Appellant's distribution operations. The Employment Tribunal allowed the claims to proceed on this basis. The Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Court of Appeal dismissed the Appellant’s appeals. The Appellant now appeals to the Supreme Court.

  • Case: UKSC 2020/0022. Sutherland (AP) (Appellant) v Her Majesty’s Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland)

    Issues:Are prosecutions based on the covert sting operations of "paedophile hunters" compatible with the right to private life and correspondence?Facts:This case is about how the authorities should approach the activities of "paedophile hunters". These are self-appointed groups of vigilantes who impersonate children in order to expose people who they consider to be sexual predators. Some of these groups have attracted substantial online followings and debate in mainstream media. In 2018 Mr Sutherland matched on a dating app with somebody who, when he communicated with them, claimed to be a 13-year old child. He sent sexual messages and images to that person, and they eventually arranged to meet at Partick station. In fact, he was speaking to an adult member of a "paedophile hunter" group. Members of that group confronted Mr Sutherland at the meeting point at the arranged time. They broadcast the encounter on social media and handed the evidence to the police. Mr Sutherland was convicted of attempting to communicate indecently with an older child and related offences. He appealed against his conviction on the basis that the covert investigation (and the use of the resulting evidence by the prosecuting authorities) breached his right to respect for his private life and correspondence under ECHR Article 8.

  • Case: UKSC 2019/0150. Secretary of State for Health and others (Respondents) v Servier Laboratories Ltd and others (Appellants)

    Issues:To what extent, if at all, are factual findings made by the General Court of the European Union in the course of its judgment in Case T-691/14 Servier SAS v EU Commission annulling a competition infringement decision of the European Commission binding as res judicata on English courts in a follow-on private damages action brought by the Respondents against the Appellants?Facts:The Appellants manufacture pharmaceuticals, including the drug perindopril. The Respondents, each of whom is acting for the NHS in one of the four UK nations, brought proceedings against the Appellants for damages caused by what they allege was the Appellants’ anti-competitive behaviour, which allegedly delayed the introduction of a generic substitute that would have been cheaper. Previously, in Case T-691/14 Servier SAS v European Commission, the General Court of the European Union ("GCEU") had annulled a part of the European Commission’s decision by which it was found that the Appellants had infringed Article 102 TFEU. Appeals (by both Servier and the Commission) against the judgment are currently outstanding before the Court of Justice of the European Union. In the present proceedings, the Appellants sought to rely on a number of factual findings made by the GCEU in the course of its judgment and argued that the English courts are bound by those findings. The High Court and the Court of Appeal have held that the propositions on which the Appellants seek to rely are not res judicata as a matter of EU law, and are not binding in these proceedings. The Appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

  • Case: UKSC 2019/0162. R (on the application of Z and another) (AP) (Appellants) v Hackney London Borough Council and another (Respondents)

    Issues:Whether the Second Respondent can lawfully restrict the provision of its social housing to members of the Orthodox Jewish community. Whether the First Respondent can lawfully maintain its housing nomination arrangements with the Second Respondent.Facts:The First Respondent (Hackney) is a local housing authority with statutory functions in relation to the allocation of social housing. In addition to allocating its own housing stock, it also nominates applicants to properties owned by housing associations. The Second Respondent (AIHA) is such an association. AIHA will only accept nominations to its social housing of households belonging to the Orthodox Jewish community. Hackney identified the First Appellant (Z), who is not a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, as having the highest level of housing need in the borough due to the vulnerability of her children (one of whom, RS, is the Second Appellant). In October 2017, Hackney agreed to make Z a "direct offer" of the next available and suitable unit of permanent social housing. However, suitable housing was not provided until February 2019. Between October 2017 and February 2019, AIHA allocated various properties to members of the Orthodox Jewish community. The Appellants did not apply for, and Hackney did not nominate them for, any of those properties because of AIHA’s policy of only letting to Orthodox Jewish households. The Appellants sought to challenge AIHA’s allocation policy and Hackney’s allocation arrangements with AIHA by means of an application for judicial review. The Divisional Court refused the application and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The Appellants now appeal to the Supreme Court.

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