The Supreme Court – FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC v Lady Christine Brownlie

15 January 2021

We represented Lady Christine Brownlie in this Appeal, which has just been heard by the Supreme Court.

This is the second time that the case has been to the Supreme Court.  There have also been two visits to the Court of Appeal, and before that to the High Court.

The original claim arose from a fatal road traffic accident which happened in Egypt eleven years ago. In the accident Lady Brownlie was seriously injured, and her husband, the late Sir Ian Brownlie QC, died, along with his daughter Rebecca.

The accident happened during an excursion that had been organised by the Four Seasons Hotel, which is where the Brownlie party were staying. On returning to England, Lady Brownlie brought a claim against Four Seasons Holdings Incorporated, for damages for injury and losses suffered as a result of the accident.

The case first came before the Supreme Court in 2018.  During that hearing the Defendant was criticised for “ducking and weaving” in response to requests from the Claimant team concerning the correct entity within the Four Seasons Group to be named as the Defendant.  The Court also took the highly unusual step of adjourning the hearing, and ordering the Defendant to provide disclosure of corporate documentation to resolve the point.  It then emerged that Four Seasons Holdings Incorporated was not in fact the correct entity to be named as a Defendant.  Consequently, the Appeal could not proceed against that Defendant, and the Supreme Court referred the case back to the High Court.  Lady Brownlie was then subsequently given leave to amend her Claim Form to name a different Four Seasons entity as Defendant – FS Cairo (Nile Plaza) LLC.

Throughout this litigation there has been a dispute between the parties as to whether Lady Brownlie’s claims pass through the gateways at CPR 6 BPD, which determine whether the English Court will accept jurisdiction for the case.

In broad terms, both the High Court in 2019, and the Court of Appeal in 2020 decided in Lady Brownlie’s favour. However, the Court of Appeal granted the Defendant leave to Appeal on the scope of the tort gateway, and the merits requirement of that gateway. The Supreme Court subsequently gave Lady Brownlie permission to cross Appeal as to whether she should be required, as the Court of Appeal Ordered, to plead the contents of Egyptian law upon which she relies.

Accordingly, the issues upon which the Supreme heard evidence are as follows:-

1. In relation to the claims in tort, whether the Claimant has established the jurisdictional gateways in respect of:

(a)Her own personal injury claim;

(b)Her claim as a dependent;

(c)The claim brought on behalf of the Estate.

2.  Whether the Claimant has established that she has reasonable prospects of success in respect of her claims:

(a)In contract; and

(b)In tort.

Counsel for Lady Brownlie were Sarah Crowther QC, Daniel Clarke, and Joshua Cainer, all of Outer Temple Chambers. The Kingsley Napley team were Terrence Donovan, Aideen McGarry, and Jordan Hawthorne.

We await the Supreme Court’s decision with great interest.

Further information

If you would like to discuss a possible clinical negligence claim please contact one of our Medical Negligence & Personal Injury lawyers on 020 7814 1200, or email us at


About the author

Terrence Donovan is the Head of the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Team at Kingsley Napley LLP.  If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this blog you can contact him on 020 7814 1260 or at






























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