Book review: Malcolm A Clarke: The Law of Insurance Contracts - SAR 2004 - 1
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The first edition of Malcolm Clarke’s book on the Law of Insurance Contracts was published in 1989, at a time when Lloyd’s was entering its crisis, a crisis which was not resolved until 1997 with “reconstruction and renewal”. Thirteen years have passed, Lloyd’s survived and London remains the major international insurance market, insuring many diverse risks from around the world. A fourth edition of Malcolm Clarke’s work in this time is an indication that the law is evolving as rapidly as the insurance market itself – at times it is difficult to know which takes the lead.
Why mention Malcolm Clarke’s work in the same breath of the London insurance market? This is because it is a treatise on the English law of insurance contracts. As many arbitrations, particularly international arbitrations, have some element of the dispute insured – property, liability, export credit, political risk, aviation - then this is an excellent reference work for those involved in arbitrations where the risk might be insured in London and be subject to English law.
As a matter of standing, it is now well established that Clarke’s work rivals what was the pre-eminent work in this area, MacGillvray on Insurance Law (10th edition, Sweet & Maxwell) and is cited as often by and before the English Courts. No opinion would be complete without a reference to both works. But what marks this work out is its reference to decisions in other jurisdictions – mainly the common law jurisdictions of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and last, but not least, the US, where protection of the consumer often takes greater precedence in shaping the law.