9 Anglo-Am. L. Rev. 331 (1980)
Gambling by Insurance - A Study of the Life Assurance Act 1774; Merkin, R.

handle is hein.journals/comlwr9 and id is 341 raw text is: ANGLO-AMERICAN LAW REVIEW

GAMBLING BY INSURANCE -
A STUDY OF THE LIFE
ASSURANCE ACT 1774.
By R. MERKIN. *
It has been about 250 years since English law for the first time
formally recognized by the Marine Insurance Act, 1746 that the
taking out of insurance not supported by interest was a practice
fraught with danger, a recognition extended from marine to
other insurances' by the Life Assurance Act 1774. It is the
purpose of this paper to evaluate the impact of the 1774 Act on
the evils which it was intended to counter and to make some
suggestions for reforming and rationalizing the present law.2 The
natural starting point is to examine why the Act was in fact
passed.
1 - The Need for Insurable Interest
(1) The Reasons For Requiring Insurable Interest.
The paramount purpose of the 1774 act was to stamp out
gambling hidden by a notional insurance. There were three factors
behind this. In the first place there was a growing objection in
this period to gambling in all its forms because of the social
consequences that it inevitably produced. Blackstone expressed
•     LLB., LLM., Lecturer in Law, University of Lancaster
1.   The exceptions in s.4 are for ships, goods or merchandises. These were covered
by the Marine Insurance Act 1746.
2.   The problems caused by the application of the 1774 Act to non-life policies are
largely outside the scope of this paper, although see below under the discussion
of s.2. For a detailed discussion of the precise insurances covered by the Act and
the ensuing difficulties see MacGillivray and Parkington on Insurance Law, 6th
Ed. (henceforward M. & P.) paras. 144-145; Ivamy, Fire and Motor Insurance, 3rd
Ed. pp.175-181.

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