Defendant solicitors have had a personal injury claim struck out in court after persuading the judge that fundamental dishonesty was involved.
It is believed to be the first time section 57 of last year’s Criminal Justice and Courts Act (CJCA) has been invoked when a case has gone all the way to trial.
The new provision allows judges to throw out the entirety of a case when fundamental dishonesty has been demonstrated in any part of the claim, even if it contains a genuine element.
The finding also automatically disqualifies qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS), allowing defendants to apply for recovery of costs.
In Hughes, Kindon and Jones v KGM, heard earlier this month at Taunton County Court, three claimants claimed they had suffered year-long injuries after an accident.
A deputy district judge had rejected the contention that injuries persisted for 12 months in the case of two of the claimants, Hughes and Kindon, saying they were likely to have suffered for two weeks. The pair were initially awarded £750 each in damages.
Defendant firm Horwich Farrelly appealed the decision, having been faced with substantial costs for defending the claim and still being subject to QOCS.
The court accepted the claims were fundamentally dishonest after the victims had stated during an examination six weeks after the accident they were still suffering from their injuries.
Striking out the claims in their entirety, DDJ Eaton-Hart said the two claimants had ‘presented a deliberate inaccurate position to the medical expert for financial gain’. He also ruled that the claimants would not suffer substantial injustice from the decision.
The claimants were ordered to pay £6,100 costs and were denied permission to appeal.
Ronan McCann (pictured), fraud partner at Horwich Farrelly said: ‘As well as being an excellent outcome for our client, KGM and our London office, this is a very important result for the insurance industry as a whole.
‘We were able to successfully utilise section 57 CJCA 2015 to our advantage to have the claims struck out and come away with an enforceable costs order.
‘Whilst we’re expecting to see the “substantial injustice” clause of CJCA 2015 tested in the coming months, this result sends a clear message that we will use the full range of tools at our disposal to tackle dishonest claims.’