LAWSG041 Insurance Law (excluding Marine Insurance)

Credit value: 30 credits (15 ECTS, 300 learning hours)
Convenor: Edmund Townsend
Other Teachers: John Lowry
Teaching Delivery: 20 x 2-hour weekly lectures, 10 lectures per term, Term One and Two
Who may enrol: LLM students only
Prerequisites: None
Must not be taken with: None
Qualifying module for: LLM in International Banking and Finance Law,
LLM International Commercial Law
Introductory video Currently there is no introductory video for this module
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay
Final Assessment: One 3-hour unseen written examination (100%)
Module Overview
Module summary:

This module considers the law which applies to insurance contracts in England and Wales.

While insurance law is significant in its own right it also plays a critical role in the development of other branches of the law. Insurance contracts obviously underpin commercial transactions, particularly contracts for goods and services (including consumer contracts) and international trade. Insurance law also pervades the policy issues not always openly avowed in the reasoning of the courts when deciding negligence cases and claims for breach of statutory duty. At its root, insurance is the means by which a party, the insured, shifts the risk of suffering a loss (for example, property, life, credit or potential liability) to another party, the insurer. As a specialist area of the law of contract, there is a rich body of case law together with a range of statutory interventions.

There have been changes to the law of insurance which have been introduced following the review of the Law Commission of England and Wales. The module will consider both the law as it applied before those changes and the regimes which have been created by the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012 and the Insurance Act 2015.

Whilst the module does not consider the specific principles which apply to contracts of marine insurance, reference will be made to the Marine Insurance Act 1906 and to the case law decided thereunder where it is relevant to non-marine insurance contracts.

While the course focuses on the English law of insurance, the basic concepts are reflected internationally in other common law jurisdictions.  Reference may be made to developments in the USA, Canada, Australia and/or New Zealand as a means of considering how similar problems/issues may receive different judicial/legislative responses elsewhere. Policy considerations underlying the law of insurance will also be examined.

Module syllabus:

The course essentially takes a chronological journey through the different phases of the insurance contract including consideration of the following topics:

  • Definition of insurance
  • Intermediaries
  • Good faith (the duty of fair presentation)
  • Formation of the insurance contract
  • Insurable interest
  • Terms
  • Construction of terms
  • Causation
  • The claims process (including fraudulent claims and damages for late payment)
  • The measure of indemnity
  • Subrogation
Recommended materials:

The lectures each week explore themes and topics based upon readings from the following books:

  • Lowry & Rawlings, Insurance law: Doctrines and Principles (Hart 2011)
  • Lowry & Rawlings, Insurance law: Cases and Materials (Hart 2004)

The following practitioner’s texts are also recommended:

  • MacGillivray on Insurance Law, Sweet & Maxwell
  • Colinvaux’s Law of Insurance, Sweet & Maxwell
  • The Law of Insurance Contracts, Informa (loose-leaf)

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment.

Preliminary reading:

No preliminary reading is compulsory but the following may be of interest:

  • Clarke, Policies and Perceptions of Insurance Law in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford University Press)