The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in this appeal concerning the proper interpretation of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, and its application to the London riots of 2011. The question for the Supreme Court was whether, in addition to compensation for physical damage to a building, claimants were in principle also entitled under the 1886 Act to receive compensation for consequential losses, such as lost profits arising out of business interruption. The Supreme Court allowed MOPC’s appeal from the Court of Appeal’s decision, ruling that the answer to that question was “no”. Lord Hodge (with whom all of the other Justices agreed) explained that when the history of the 1886 Act was traced back to the origins of riot compensation in English law, it was clear that the intention had never been to equate compensation to damages that would be recoverable against a trespasser in tort, or to provide for compensation beyond physical damage to property. The 1886 Act was not intended to change this state of affairs. Like its predecessors, the Act set out a self-contained statutory compensation scheme which did not extend to cover consequential losses.
Lord Pannick QC, Sam Grodzinski QC, and David Pievsky appeared for the Appellant Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
Simon Pritchard appeared for the 4th to 6th Respondents.