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A Matter of Interest – applicable law to awards of interest in cross-border tort cases


Joshua Cainer looks in detail at the recent developments in English courts on the applicable law to awards of interest in cross-border tort cases.

In Troke v Amgen Seguros Generales Compania de Seguros Y Reaseguros SAU, the claimants suffered personal injury from a road traffic accident in Spain, for which the defendant insurers admitted both liability and quantum. In this article, Joshua Cainer explores the legal point in dispute, which concerned what law governed the award of interest in relation to the tort: the lex causae (the law of the jurisdiction in which the cause of action arose), which in this case was Spanish law; or the lex fori (the law of the forum in which the claim was being brought), which in this case was English law.

The parties had obtained an agreed joint expert report which stated that Spanish law “contemplates a penalty interest where insurers have not made a relevant interim payment within 3 months from the accident”. Unsurprisingly, given that the penalty interest under Spanish law was substantially higher than that ordinarily available under English law, the claimants sought to argue on appeal to the High Court before Griffiths J that they should have been awarded the rates of penalty interest under Spanish law instead of the rates applied under English law by the trial judge.

They made two alternative arguments, that either:

(1) Spanish law should govern the award and rate of interest (‘the Applicable Law Argument’); or

(2), even if English law governed the rate of interest, the Judge ought to have awarded the Spanish rates in exercise of his discretion under s.69, County Courts Act 1984 (‘the Discretionary Argument’).

Read the article

Joshua Cainer has written a detailed article discussing the recent developments in English courts on the applicable law to awards of interest in cross border tort cases. Read the article here.

About the author

Joshua Cainer joined Chambers in 2020 following the successful completion of his pupillage. Joshua is building a busy practice across all of Chambers’ areas of practice including cross border and travel law. He is also a member of the Attorney General’s Junior Junior Scheme.

Find Out More

If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article please contact Joshua directly or via his practice management team; Graham Woods or Chris Rowe on +44 (0)20 7353 6381.

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