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UK test case judgment possible by mid next month

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The UK High Court’s business interruption test case judgment could be delivered next month after hearings concluded last week.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says Lord Justice Flaux “expressed a hope” that the judgment would be available by the middle of September.

Hearings were held over eight days, ending Thursday, with submissions made by the FCA, Hospitality Insurance Group Action, Hiscox Action Group and eight insurers who agreed to be part of the case.

The insurers involved are Arch, Argenta Syndicate Management, Ecclesiastical Insurance Office, Hiscox, MS Amlin, QBE, Royal & SunAlliance and Zurich.

FCA says any High Court decision appeal would likely take place on an expedited basis.

“This includes exploring the possibility of a ‘leapfrog’ appeal to the Supreme Court,” it says in an update on the case’s progress.

FCA has published a list of insurers and policies that may be affected by the resolution of the test case, with the total covering about 370,000 policyholders.

The case put by insurers has included arguments over the location of the virus relative to business premises and the legal force and impact of Government restrictions.

“We don’t live in a dictatorship or a totalitarian regime,” counsel for the insurers Gavin Kealey QC said last week. “There was government guidance that went beyond the government regulations, and the latter are binding and the former are not. It is as simple as that.”