Win-win for Devereux as the EL Trigger appeal looks set to spark a battle in the Supreme Court

In a remarkable turn of events, counsel from Devereux emerged victorious on both sides of the decision handed down today by the Court of Appeal in the Employers' Liability Trigger litigation. Four counsel from Devereux are involved in the appeal - Colin Wynter QC successfully resisted two of the four appeals he was defending, having secured an initial victory at first instance, while Colin Edelman QC won the appeal for Excess Insurance. Richard Harrison (for Akzo Nobel and AMEC) and Andrew Burns (for Mrs Edwards/UNITE) will have to wait to see if the appeals proceed  if they are to reinstate their success at first instance. The Court of Appeal granted permission for the appeals to be considered by Supreme Court.

The appeal decides whether the wording of particular forms of employers’ liability policies, some dating back to the 1930s, provide cover for asbestos related mesothelioma claims. Mr Justice Burton found in favour of coverage at first instance, but the Court of Appeal has now allowed three of the six appeals. Some or all of the appeals may now proceed to the Supreme Court, to determine the almost philosophical question of when “injury” is “sustained” in situations involving exposure to harmful substances which, years later, it emerges have caused diseases such as mesothelioma.

The full judgment may be found here.

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