Legal decision on asbestos case

 Zurich Insurance PLC v International Energy Group Ltd 20 May 2015 
[2015] UKSC 33

In this latest of the line of cases that has followed the landmark decision in Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2002] UKHL 22 (“Fairchild”), the Supreme Court had to consider the position as between an employer responsible for exposing an employee to asbestos and its insurers where insurance cover had only been taken out or was only traced for part of the exposure period.

Zurich’s appeal was successful to the extent it was held to be liable to reimburse IEG, its policyholder, for an apportioned share of the damages and costs paid to the claimant. Whilst in cases where the Compensation Act 2006 applied, an insurer for a part period of exposure would be liable to pay 100% of the sums due to a claimant, the majority held that the insurer would have a separate equitable right to recover a proportionate contribution from any co insurers and from the insured in respect of any uninsured period.

It was held unanimously that Barker v Corus [2006] UKHL 20 (“Barker”) remained good law.

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