Judge Rules Middlesbrough Man’s Case Should Be Heard in English Courts
Lawyers representing a former English Premier League footballer paralysed in an accident at a Spanish beach club have secured a landmark legal ruling, paving the way for him to progress his case to fund the specialist support he requires, through the English Courts.
Joey Hutchinson, 37, suffered serious, life-changing spinal injuries while at Ocean Beach Club, now known as O Beach, in Ibiza in June 2016.
Following the incident, Joey, of Middlesbrough, instructed expert international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and secure him access to the specialist rehabilitation he requires because of his injuries.
Joey's legal team issued proceedings against Ice Mountain Ibiza, the corporate entity which owns O Beach, and its insurers MAPFRE.
The two argued that a clause in the insurance contract meant that the case should be heard in the Spanish courts. However, European law states that such cases can be heard in the 'home court' of those injured.
Last month a jurisdiction hearing was held in the English High Court to decide how the case should proceed.
The Honourable Mrs Justine Andrews DBE has today handed down judgment ruling that Joey's case can continue in the English Courts, and has dismissed the challenge to the English Court’s jurisdiction raised by the insurer.
Expert Opinion"Joey suffered devastating injuries in the accident which are going to affect him and his family for the rest of his life.
"Through our investigations we believe that there was insufficient safety advice provided to customers at the club, and the company which owns O Beach, and its insurers, have a case to answer.
"That both parties tried to argue that the English Courts did not have jurisdiction to hear this and that it needed to be transferred to Spain is disappointing. Such actions have only caused to delay the most important issue here which is ensuring Joey can access the specialist care he needs to make the most of life.
“We believe it is the first time that the issue of jurisdiction has had to be heard in the High Court and we are pleased at today’s judgment which means that we can now make progress with Joey’s case through the English Courts. His case was effectively put on hold while we waited for this issue to be determined.
“The ruling clarifies important points of law that will have huge implications for those seeking redress following life changing accidents and subsequent financial loss directly from insurers in their home courts, which is what was intended by the European regulations which deal with jurisdiction.
“We will now continue to support Joey as we prepare to take his case forward. In the meantime we also call on Ice Mountain Ibiza and MAPFRE to work with us to resolve this case.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner
Joey played for Birmingham City in the Premier League during before spells with clubs including Darlington and York City.
He is now reliant on a wheelchair and has limited movement in his arms.
His legal team at Irwin Mitchell argue that the pool was inadequately supervised, and lacked sufficient warning signs restricting diving.
Both Ice Mountain Ibiza and MAPFRE deny liability.