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Peter Houghton

Call 2005

Insurance & Reinsurance

Peter’s insurance practice stems chiefly from his work in personal injury and industrial disease litigation. He has advised on and litigated policy coverage issues.

He was second junior counsel (led by Colin Edelman QC and David Platt QC) for Excess Insurance in the Employers’ Liability Policy Trigger Litigation in the QBD (eight week trial before Burton J), in the Court of Appeal and ultimately in the Supreme Court.

Recent work includes:

  • Acting for one historic EL insurer of a dissolved company which wrongfully exposed a former employee to asbestos, causing him to develop mesothelioma. Peter’s client paid the employee’s claim at a time when no other insurance cover for the company could be traced. Some years subsequently other insurers, who had uploaded their details onto ELTO, were traced and pursued for contributions under the equitable principle in IEGL v. Zurich. One has contributed but the other refuses to do so alleging that the equitable claim for contribution is time barred. The claim between insurers will determine the limitation period applicable to an equitable claim for contribution as envisaged by the majority in IEGL.
  • Acting for a PL insurer in a fatal mesothelioma case which concerns the impact of the Trigger Litigation on the ’10 year rule’ in Bolton MBC v. MMI. The claim is worth approximately £1m and is ongoing. There is a dispute between PL insurers as to whose policy responds.
  • Acting for an EL insurer in a fatal mesothelioma claim in which indemnity was successfully declined on the grounds that the deceased was contractor and so not a ‘person under a contract of service’ within the terms of the policy.
  • Acting for the PL insurer of a nationwide retailer, one of whose employees (whilst off duty but visiting the workplace) was very seriously assaulted by another. The claim raises interesting issues of whether the EL or PL policy should respond.
  • Advising the beneficiaries of certain accidental death benefit insurance policies where the policy holder had died but the insurers had refused to pay out under the policies. The case turned on issues of proximate cause and interpretation of ‘accidental bodily injury’. Following Peter’s involvement the insurers paid out.
  • Advising a leading insurer as to whether certain claims fell under an EL or a group motor policy both issued to a national company.

Selected Cases

  • Durham v. BAI (Run Off) Ltd (the Employers’ Liability Policy Trigger Litigation):
    • [2008] EWHC 2692 (QB)
    • [2010] EWCA Civ 1096
    • [2012] UKSC 14
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Qualifications


  • MA (Hons) (Cantab) (Double First Class)
  • MPhil (Cantab) (Distinction)
  • CPE (City) (Distinction)
  • BVC (ICSL) (Outstanding)
  • Lord Brougham and Lord Denning Scholarships (Lincoln’s)

 


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