D Geddes (Contractors) Ltd v Neil Johnson Health & Safety Services Ltd

Negligence – Defence – Ex turpi causa. Court of Session: In an action in which the pursuer, which had pled guilty to a breach of reg 6 of the Quarries Regulations 1999 following a fatal accident to one of its employees and had been fined £200,000, sought to recover the fine from the defender, its health and safety advisor at time of the accident, and in which the defender asserted, as a preliminary issue, that the pursuer was not entitled to recover as damages a penalty imposed on it for its own criminal act, the court concluded that there was no authority for the proposition that recovery of a loss consisting of a criminal penalty or the consequences of imposition of a criminal sanction was necessarily excluded by the in turpi causa principle, it was satisfied that the pursuer had pled a case for recovery of the fine which was relevant for proof, and a proof before answer was accordingly necessary.

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