Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Macaura v Northern Assurance Co Ltd

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Decided  3 April 1925
End date  April 3, 1925
Citation(s)  [1925] AC 619
Ruling court  House of Lords
Macaura v Northern Assurance Co Ltd httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Judge(s) sitting  Lord Sumner, Lord Buckmaster, Wrenbury, Atkinson and Phillimore concurred.
Similar  Lee v Lee's Air Farming Ltd, Salomon v A Salomon & Co Ltd, Jones v Lipman, Adams v Cape Industries, DHN Food Distributors Ltd v Tow

Macaura v Northern Assurance Co Ltd [1925] AC 619 appeared before the House Of Lords concerning the principle of lifting the corporate veil. Unusually, the request to do so was in this case made by the corporation's owner.



Mr Macaura owned the Killymoon estate in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He sold the timber there to Irish Canadian Sawmills Ltd for 42,000 fully paid up £1 shares, making him the whole owner (with nominees). Mr Macaura was also an unsecured creditor for £19,000. He got insurance policies - but in his own name, not the company's - with Northern Assurance covering for fire. Two weeks later, there was a fire. Northern Assurance refused to pay up because the timber was owned by the company, and that because the company was a separate legal entity, it did not need to pay Mr Macaura any money.


The House of Lords held insurers were not liable on the contract, since the timber that perished in the fire did not belong to Mr Macaura, who held the insurance policy. Lord Buckmaster gave the first judgment, holding in favour of the insurance companies. Lord Atkinson concurred. Lord Sumner concurred and said the following.

Lord Wrenbury and Phillimore concurred.


Macaura v Northern Assurance Co Ltd Wikipedia