The High Court has drawn a line in the sand on an fundamental dishonesty appeal which resulted in 10 orders in the space of 12 months.
Mr Justice Lavender said the frequency of court orders in Kamara v Builder Depot Ltd was ‘truly remarkable’ and created a ‘thoroughly unsatisfactory situation’ incompatible with the overriding objective, particularly because the proposed appeal had no prospect of success.
The judge singled out the claimant’s solicitors, named in the judgment as Nas & Griffith Legal Associates, for criticism in his ruling following the one-day hearing in June.
The court heard that Mohamed Kamara brought a personal injury claim following an accident at work more than six years ago. The county court had held that the defendant would have been liable for damages of £283, but for Kamara’s fundamental dishonesty in exaggerating his account of the incident and the extent of his symptoms. This included presenting a £3,250 claim for the cost of care which he did not receive, supported by fabricated invoices. The judge found Kamara was ‘histrionic, aggressive and combative’ and ordered him to pay £50,000 defendant costs.
There then began a year of numerous applications to the court, including for a transcript of proceedings and then for a stay of execution and leave to introduce fresh evidence.
Mr Justice Lavender said that appeals to the High Court were ‘bedevilled’ by delays in obtaining transcripts, but it was not acceptable for appellants to assume that appeals can simply be put on hold until the transcript is produced.
When an appeal bundle was finally filed and served in March this year, it did not contain the transcript of the trial and had no skeleton argument. The judge noted three failings by the claimant’s solicitors, including failing to explain the position adequately in one application which led to a judge making an order on a mistaken basis.
Up to 24 grounds were pleaded, all of which were dismissed. The application to appeal was ‘totally without merit’, with ‘overwhelming evidence’ that the original claim was fundamentally dishonest.