Court To Rule On Compensation Fight Over Sony Warehouse Fire During 2011 Riots

Court To Rule On Compensation Fight Over Sony Warehouse Fire During 2011 Riots

London mayor Boris Johnson is waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on a multimillion-pound compensation fight with insurance companies following rioting in the capital nearly five years ago.

Supreme Court justices analysed the dispute at a hearing in London in January and are scheduled to publish their ruling on Wednesday.

The row centres on damage caused to a Sony warehouse in Enfield, north London, during ''widespread civil disorder'' in August 2011 - and the provisions of a piece of Victorian legislation, the 1886 Riot Damages Act.

Justices have been asked to make rulings on what compensation is available for damage done to buildings and consequential loss of profit.

Mr Johnson had asked for a Supreme Court ruling following hearings in the High Court and Court Of Appeal.

Judges have been told that legislation says compensation for ''damage by riot'' should be paid out of police funds.

A number of insurance companies have argued that the destruction and looting of the Sony warehouse fell into that category.

Mr Johnson - whose office funds the Metropolitan Police - disagrees.

A High Court judge had ruled that the Sony warehouse was damaged during ''widespread civil disorder''.

Mr Justice Flaux said losses had arisen out of damage caused by ''persons riotously and tumultuously assembled'' and should be paid for out of police funds.

But he decided that there was a limit to liability - and said ''consequential losses'', including loss of profit and rent, were not ''in principle recoverable''.

Insurers challenged his decision on the ''extent of liability'' - and the Court of Appeal ruled in their favour.

Appeal judges concluded that legislation provided a right to compensation for ''all heads of loss proximately caused by physical damage to property for which the trespasser is liable''.

Mr Justice Flaux had said insurers claimed that losses added up to more than £60 million - and their claims included a £9.8 million claim for lost profit and a £1.6 million claim for lost rent.

The warehouse was destroyed late on August 8 2011 during ''the widespread civil disorder and rioting which took place in London and elsewhere'' after a man was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, north London, judges have been told.


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