In Southern Gas Networks v Thames Water [2018] EWCA Civ 33, the Court of Appeal found the defendant water company liable to SGN for the cost of customer compensation payments made after leaking water mains caused a gas outage in Christmas 2012.

Thames admitted negligence in relation to the leak and paid for the cost of repairs to the gas network, but argued that the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 ousted common law liabilities in respect of SGN’s payments to customers. Reversing a decision of the High Court, the Court of Appeal analysed the law on ouster clauses and held that the statutory scheme was not incompatible with SGN’s common law rights.

David Hart QC and Jessica Elliott acted for the successful appellant, instructed by Jillian Raw and Lindsay Woods of Kennedys. Andrew Rigney QC represented the Respondent, instructed by Clyde & Co.

Read the judgment here.