On appeal from: [2012] EWCA Civ 854.

The Court considered issues relating to damages to a widow in relation to a fatal accident in Germany. Their resolution depended on whether they were governed by German or English law, and, if by English law, whether by the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976  or on some other basis. English rules of private international law distinguish between questions of procedure, governed by the law of the forum (ie England), and questions of substance, governed by the local laws (in this case Germany). The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses the appeal and finds that the German damages rules apply. The Court finds that the relevant sections of the 1976 Act do not lay down general rules of English law, but only rules applicable to actions under the Act itself. An action to enforce a liability whose applicable substantive law is German law is not an action under s 1 of the 1976 Act to which the damages provisions of the Act can apply.

For judgment, please download: [2014] UKSC 22
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII