Gold v Patman & Fotheringham


The Origins of Non-Negligence Insurance


Gold v Patman & Fotheringham

(1958) A neighbouring owner brought a claim against the plaintiff in respect of subsidence caused by the building operations and it appeared that the defendants had taken out an insurance policy which covered their liability for subsidence but not that of the plaintiff. The plaintiff brought an action claiming that the defendants were in breach of their obligations under clause 15 under a standard RIBA Form (1939 edition with quantities, 1952 revision).


• Gold = Employer; Patman & Fotheringham = Contractor.

• Contract – standard RIBA form

• Damage caused to adjoining neighbour’s property due to piling.

• Neighbours bring action against Gold

• Gold sought to recover against P&F

• Contract conditions: Contractor only liable for damage if negligence established

• Court decision: Damage not attributable to contractor’s negligence. Gold held liable in nuisance for removing support to neighbours land.

• Therefore Employer liable for costs of damage and with no insurance protection


The outcomes

Key outcomes as a result of Gold –

• Public liability insurance will not pay out if negligence cannot be proved

• Injured party/parties can sue the developer or employer that brought the contractor on to site



The Non Negligent Damage clause was born.

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