Victory for Boris in compensation fight over 2011 London riots damage


London Mayor Boris Johnson has won a Supreme Court compensation fight with insurance companies following rioting in the capital nearly five years ago.

The dispute centred on damage caused to a Sony warehouse in Enfield, north London, during rioting in August 2011, and the provisions of a piece of Victorian legislation - the 1886 Riot Damages Act.

Supreme Court justices analysed legal argument at a hearing in London in January and published their ruling on Wednesday.

They concluded that the mayor's office should not have to pay compensation for loss of profit and rent.

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

Judges had been told that the 1886 legislation said compensation for ''damage by riot'' should be paid out of police funds.

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

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

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 consequential loss.

But five Supreme Court justices have overturned that appeal court decision in the wake of Mr Johnson's challenge.

They have concluded that the Riot Damages Act does not "extend to cover consequential losses".

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 rioting in London and other parts of Britain after a man was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, north London, judges had heard.