February 14th, 2024 by James Goudie KC

In tort a person owes a duty of care not to cause physical damage to another person’s property. If there is a breach of that duty there is a liability to pay damages. The measure of the damages is compensation for (i) the reduced value of the property and (ii) any financial loss consequent on the physical damage. The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal ARMSTEAD v ROYAL SUN ALLIANCE ( 2024 ) UKSC 6, and holds that a claimant in the tort of negligence can recover, as damages, the amount of a contractual liability that the claimant owes to a third party, when that contractual liability is incurred as a result of the defendant’s wrongful act in negligently damaging the claimant’s property. Such a loss is not “ pure economic loss “; and where the question is whether a loss is too remote from a tort, the burden of proof in respect of remoteness is on the defendant.

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