The Duty of Pre-Contractual Disclosure in English Insurance Law: Past and Future - Does the Law Need to be Changed?

AuthorLaura Reeves
PositionUniversity of Southampton
[2015] Southampton Student Law Review Vol.5
The Duty of Pre-Contractual Disclosure in English
Insurance Law: Past and Future – Does the Law Need to
be Changed?
Laura Reeves
University of Southampton
Currently UK insurance law as a whole is subject to reform and change. One
particularly interesting change surrounds the duty of pre-contractual disclosure.
Royal Assent has been given to the Insurance Law Act 2015 (in force from August
2016) whereby the law should become more consumer-friendly and less draconian in
practice. Such change in the law is interesting because other countries such as
Australia, have implemented similar rules much earlier than the UK, in which bears a
good comparison as to how well the new rules will be enforced in practice. For this
reason, a contrast will be drawn between English and Australian law to analyse the
strengths and weaknesses in both jurisdictions to formulate what could be an
adapted version of the pre-contractual duty of disclosure.
Keywords: pre-contractual disclosure, utmost good faith, Insurance Act 2015,
insurance reform
he duty of pre-contractual disclosure has a significant impact on the existence
of the insurance contract in insurance law. The stringent, unfair burden placed
on the insured to disclose all relevant “material circumstances”1 coupled with
the “draconian, one way”2 avoidance remedy3 calls for the duty to undergo
drastic reform. This reform has been acknowledged and accepted by the Law
Commission and both Houses of Parliament, whereby new laws will come into force
by the end of 2016. This essay will analyse the current law, the new law reforms4 and
compare then to Australian law, which undertook similar reform some years ago. The
1 Marine Insurance Act 1906 S.18
2 K Lewins, Going Walk about with Australian Insurance Law: The Australian experience of
reforming utmost good faith(2013) 1 JBL, 1-22,.2
3 Marine Insurance Act 1906 S.17
4 For clarifications purposes, references to the current law describes the law which is in place now and
references to the new law refers to the reforms which have been passed as legislation under the

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT