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England and Wales High Court (Commercial Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Commercial Court) Decisions >> AIG Europe Ltd v OC320301 LLP & Ors  EWHC 2398 (Comm) (14 August 2015)
Cite as:  EWHC 2398 (Comm),  Lloyd's Rep IR 147
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Rolls Building, 7 Rolls Buildings
Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL
B e f o r e :
| AIG EUROPE LIMITED
|- and -
|(1) OC320301 LLP
(formerly THE INTERNATIONAL LAW PARTNERSHIP LLP)
(2) STEPHEN JOHN HOWELL
(3) JANINE ELSPETH HOWELL
(4) PETER GERARD JASON ESDERS
(5) RICHARD MARCUS WOODMAN
(6) ROYDS TRUSTEE COMPANY LIMITED (as trustees of the HOWELL PENINSULA PROTECTION TRUST and the MIDAS MARRAKECH TRUST and as representatives of the Beneficiaries)
Tom Leech QC and Edward Risso-Gill (instructed by Royds LLP) for the 5th and 6th Defendants
Hearing dates: 28 and 29 July 2015
Crown Copyright ©
Mr. Justice Teare:
The factual background
The policy of insurance
"The insurance may provide that, when considering what may be regarded as one Claim for the purposes of the limits contemplated by clauses 2.1 and 2.3 :
(a) all Claims against any one or more Insured arising from:
(i) one act or omission;
(ii) one series of related acts or omissions;
(iii) the same act or omission in a series of related matters or transactions;
(iv) similar acts or omissions in a series of related matters or transactions
(b) all Claims against one or more Insured arising from one matter or transaction
will be regarded as One Claim."
The rival cases and submissions
"the meaning of "series" in the provision is, I think, that of a number of events of a sufficiently similar kind following one another in temporal succession. .Since any number of distinct events will, unless by coincidence they occur simultaneously, necessarily occur in a temporal sequence, the only remaining attribute of the concept of a series to be satisfied is that the events should be, in a sufficient degree, similar in nature."
"The word "series" does not, I think, normally carry with it the notion of a sequence with some connexion between the items in the sequence. Here whatever connection there is between the occurrences is to be found in what constitutes the further requirement, viz, that they are attributable to one source. The problem is do they form a series ? Prima facie I think not. It is probably true that no two of the relevant occurrences happened at the one time so that it may be taken for granted that they occurred one after another, but I do not regard that as itself sufficient to constitute them occurrences in a series ..The numbers 1,2 and 3 are a series of numbers because they are in a particular order, but I would not regard the numbers 7,16 and 100 as a series of numbers because they are in no discernible order. It seems to me that order is the characteristic of a series and there is no order in the occurrences here under consideration. The difficulty with the phrase here is to attribute any particular meaning to it, other than the unlikely one, that it merely excludes occurrences happening at the one time. This is because the element of connexion between occurrences which could perhaps constitute them in a series does not depend upon the word "series" itself, that is, that they are attributable to one source. This is dealt with expressly. To reject the construction of the phrase "occurrences in a series" means no more than any number of occurrences not happening at the one time does, it must be conceded, leave the words "in a series" with problematical positive significance. Nevertheless I am not satisfied that the occurrences with which we are concerned are occurrences in a series simply because they happened one after the other "
"When is an occurrence part of a series of occurrences ? To form part of a series there must be some connecting factor which links occurrences which would otherwise be separate. In the Australian case (Distillers Co. Biochemicals (Australia) Pty Ltd v Ajax Insurance Co Ltd  130 CLR 1) the majority considered that the occurrences must be of a sufficiently similar kind to qualify for forming part of a series. In this case the claims might properly be all described as occurrences of misselling of pensions. On the assumed facts the claims are sufficiently related to form part of a series; and that would be so, I think, whether or not they were attributable to one source or original cause. "
"The word "series" must be read in its context, which is "part of a larger transaction or of a series of transactions". The expression "part of a series" suggests, to my mind, that by a series is meant something of which it can be said there is some integral relationship between its parts. It does not, I think, convey the idea that all that is required is that the transaction should be one of a number of transactions related to one another in time or space or both. This view is, I think, strengthened by the fact the expression "part of a series of transactions" stands in juxtaposition to the expression "part of a larger transaction". .