DAC Beachcroft has blocked victims of black-cab rapist John Worboys from making claims against the insurance company that provided his motor insurance.
Pannone partner Joanne Berry instructed 39 Essex Street’s Edwin Glasgow QC to lead the claim against convicted rapist Worboys and Inceptum Insurance Company, arguing that it should be liable for any successful claims made against Worboys.
Glasgow told the court at the April hearing: “The fundamental issue is whether personal injuries caused by a taxi driver’s assaults on a passenger were ’caused by or arose out of the use of a vehicle on a road’ for the purposes of compulsory insurance as required by the Road Traffic Act 1988.
“It is our submission that the use of the taxi and the part that it played in the attacks that occurred during the course of the journeys was essential and material.
“The taxi did not just happen to be at the place where the assaults occurred – it was the symbol of security which seduced these young women to believe they were safe.”
Crown Office Chambers’ Andrew Bartlett QC, instructed by DAC Beachcroft partner Andrew Parker for the defendant, countered that the critical phase “arising out of” means a proximate cause or an effective cause but not necessarily an immediate cause. Mr Justice Silber said that that was too narrow a test
In his ruling, Silber J found that the bodily injuries suffered by the women did not arise out of the use of Worboys’ vehicle on a road or other public place within the meaning of the 1988 Act.
In his ruling he stated: “It is clear that the fact of the location of the offences of administering the sedatives and of committing or attempting the sexual assaults occurred in Worboys’ taxi, but that is not conclusive or by itself of any real potency.
“The injuries of the claimants were caused by the criminal acts of Worboys in administering sedatives and then in attempting to, or actually assaulting the claimants.
“They did not arise out of the use of the taxi on a road.”
For the claimants AXN and Others: 39 Essex Street’s Edwin Glasgow QC leading One Crown Office Row’s Justin Levinson and Angela Rainey of 39 Essex Street instructed by Pannone partner Joanne Berry.
For the defendants Inceptum Insurance Company (formerly known as HSBC
Insurance (UK) Limited): Crown Office Chambers’ Andrew Bartlett QC and Crown Office Chambers’ Isabel Hitching instructed by DAC Beachcroft partner Andrew Parker.