Summary of Recent Cases – Civil Procedure

A Claimant who had verified his statement of claim and witness statement with a statement of truth that he knew to be false was jailed for 9 months. His wife who had also verified false statements in support of his claim was given a suspended prison sentence of 6 months.

(1) Edward William Nield (2) Acromas Insurance Co Ltd v (1) Graham Jeffrey Loveday (2) Susan Loveday, DC, 13/07/11

The Claimant had originally brought proceedings for personal injury following an RTA, claiming that as a result of the accident he could not work or drive, was often reliant on a wheelchair, had difficulty walking and coping with stairs and required assistance from his wife. The Defendant adduced surveillance footage from a private investigator which appeared to show he was far more active and able than his claim suggested. The action was therefore settled for significantly less than he had claimed and he agreed to pay the D’s costs. Contempt proceedings were subsequently brought by D. It was held that the C was guilty of contempt of court. His evidence that he had not read what he had signed was untrue and must have known that his false claims were likely to interfere with the interests of justice. His wife was given some credit in that she had admitted her contempt, however even in his oral evidence the C had attempted to continue with various fabrications. 

It was inappropriate to determine as a preliminary issue whether an insurance company could rely on exclusions clauses in a personal accident insurance policy as to the deceased’s state of mind at the time of a fatal car crash; to so would inhibit the trial judge in determining whether his acts had been voluntary.

Pool v Chartis Insurance, QBD, 13/07/11

The trial judge had to decide what the state of the deceased’s mind was which would be based in part on the cross examination of experts to determine what he would have been aware of and what decisions he could fairly be said to have made. The facts were not agreed and the consequences of the deceased’s behaviour were not agreed. It would be wrong to inhibit the trial judge in relation to the finding that he had to make about whether the deceased’s actions were voluntary. It was not appropriate to determine the preliminary issue. It was far better, even though costs were involved, that the issues be determined at trial. The D was ordered to pay the C’s costs of and occasioned by the instant hearing. The D had initially served a blanket denial. It amended its defence very late, and had taken a different stance at the instant hearing.

The court had power under r.3.1(2)(a) to extend the time for compliance with a court order and under r.3.8 to grant relief from sanctions, even where the order had been made by consent.

Pannone LLP v Aardvark Digital Ltd, CA (Civ), 12/07/11

D had been in default of a consent order that he would file and serve a reply and defence to a counterclaim by a few minutes. The Court held that the weight to be given to the consideration that an order was agreed would vary according to the nature of the order and thus the agreement. Where the agreement was the compromise of a substantive dispute or the settlement of proceedings, that factor would have very great and perhaps ordinarily decisive weight. Where, however, the agreement was no more than a procedural accommodation in relation to case management, the weight to be accorded to the fact of the parties’ agreement as to the consequences of non-compliance, while still real and substantial, would nonetheless ordinarily be correspondingly less, and rarely decisive. In relation to a case-management decision such as the one in this case, an approach whereby the parties would generally be held to the terms of a consent order was over-prescriptive and capable of detracting from the need to assess what, in the circumstances, was the weight appropriately to be given to the factor of consent.

September 1, 2011 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases