A law firm has insisted it has no case to answer over its conduct in the handling of a failed holiday sickness claim. Tour operator TUI says it had raised concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority over north west firm AMS Solicitors, as well as with the General Medical Council, after claiming that medical evidence backing the claim was produced by the husband of a partner at the firm.
The firm says it has not been notified of any disciplinary action nor does it expect any detailed investigation given its conduct throughout the case.
According to press reports over the weekend, Liverpool couple Chelsea Devine and Jamie Melling face a £15,000 costs bill after being found to be fundamentally dishonest in the presentation of their case.
They claimed £2,500 each after saying they had have fallen ill while on holiday in Benidorm in 2015, but pictures of the couple showed few signs of any suffering, and they had made no complaints during their break.
Recorder Sally Hatfield QC, sitting at Liverpool County Court, said the pair’s statements were identical and, despite insisting they did not collude, it was ‘clear the statements were not written by them’.
In a statement, TUI UK & Ireland said the nature of the claim ‘raises serious and obvious ethical and legal questions’ and that the conduct of the law firm and medical professionals needed to be assessed by regulators. ‘This goes to highlight the penalty you can face if you bring an exaggerated or fraudulent holiday sickness claim,’ added the company. ‘We hope this sends a clear message to anyone else considering this route. We will simply not pay compensation claims of this nature and we will bring all similar cases to a court hearing.’
AMS Solicitors released a statement this week stating that partner Sehana Bux was not involved in the matter at all, and pointing out the court had not criticised any solicitors who worked on the case.
The statement added: ’AMS Solicitors are passionate about achieving compensation for injured clients. In this case the court ultimately did not accept the claimants’ evidence at trial. However, the court forming a view on the oral testimony given by a witness is a natural part of the litigation process.’