Summary of Recent Cases – Civil Procedure

Respondents who admitted brining a fraudulent personal injury action were committed to 6 weeks imprisonment

Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited v Bashir & Ors, (2012), QBD (Admin), 28/02/12

The applicant insurance company applied for the committal of 4 respondents for contempt of court. The respondents had brought a claim for car damage and personal injury. The Insurance company alleged that the claim was fraudulent and the accident was contrived. Two of the respondents had 2 young children, one of which was only 4 months old. The court held that the conduct of the respondents had to be deterred because it struck at the heart of the justice system and affected the public as a whole in increasing the cost of insurance policies and therefore there was no alternative but to impose custodial sentences. However the court took into account the fact that they had admitted to the fraud and, more significantly, that they had willingly assisted the insurer in disclosing the relevant information. Where in normal circumstances the appropriate sentence would have been one of 12 months in custody, the court imposed a suspended sentence of 6 weeks on 2 of the respondents in light of this mitigating conduct. Due to the lessor involvement of the latter 2 respondents, a suspended sentence of 6 weeks was also judged appropriate.

Where Counsel was concerned that evidence was being adduced that was a departure from a pleaded case, it was incumbent upon him to invite the trial judge to rule on that objection and insist on the ruling. It was therefore too late to raise the point on appeal.

Melanie Hawksworth v (1) Chief Constable of Staffordshire (2) Staffordshire Police Authority (2012), CA, (Civ Div), 16/02/12

The appellant employee appealed against a decision dismissing her personal injury claim arising out of the alleged negligence of the respondent employer. It was apparent that the approach of counsel for the employee at trial was insufficient; if she had been concerned that the respondent would adduce evidence and seek to rely on it in departure from the pleaded case, it was incumbent on her to invite the trial judge to rule on that objection. Accordingly, she ought to have insisted on a ruling at trial. If such an objection had been taken, the respondent in turn could have applied for an amendment if necessary. The appellant had had an opportunity to raise the point at trial and had failed to do so. It was now too late to complain. In any event, the trial judge had rejected the appellant’s expert’s evidence more or less in its entirety and the trial judge’s conclusion that appellant’s expert’s evidence was insufficient to satisfy her claim had been a free-standing conclusion.

An application to bring contempt proceedings against 7 individuals who it was claimed had given false information about car hire rates was granted

Accident Exchange Ltd v Nathan John George-Broom & 6 Ors [2012] EWHC 207 (Admin)

The evidence against the respondents was ostensibly strong. There appeared to be a basis for saying that the respondents in their individual cases had the knowledge that there was a false picture being presented to the court. The problem was certainly significant, there being a large raft of cases. It would not be trivial if the matter were proved. This was systematic behaviour. The appellant was therefore given the permission sought. Honda Motor Co Ltd v Neesam [2008] EWCA Civ 1280, [2009] 1 W.L.R 2406 applied.

The court commented on the factors for assessing the damages to be awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for mesothelioma, and on the lower level figure for awards in the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines 10th Edition

Dennis Ball v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2012] EWHC 145 (QB)

The Court held that the assessment of damages in mesothelioma cases was far more complex than the emphasis in the JSB Guidelines on “duration of symptoms” would suggest. Factors to be taken into account were the extent and effects of the invasive investigations that a claimant had had to undergo and the type of mesothelioma suffered. The level of symptoms were a key factor. If the symptoms, in particular pain, could not be effectively controlled, that was an important consideration. It was relevant that, even if death had been relatively peaceful, he or she would have been fearful since being told of the diagnosis that a painful and distressing end was to follow. The duration of symptoms were a factor, although not determinative of the level of award. The level of award would be affected by domestic circumstances and previous state of heath and level of activity. Looking at the reported awards, it was difficult to understand the basis of lower level figure of ВЈ35,000 in the tenth edition of the JSB Guidelines.

A late application to adduce expert evidence was granted as it would at least arguably assist the Court

Grupo Hotelero Urvasco SA v Carey Value Added SL (2012), QBD (Comm) 23/02/12

It was held that the necessity of expert evidence in the instant case could not be determined without seeing an expert report. However, the expert’s evidence would at least arguably assist the court and the necessity of that evidence would have to be determined at a later time. In the context of a case that had as much as ВЈ100 million at issue, the prospect of the parties incurring ВЈ1 million in expenses relating to the expert evidence was an insufficient reason not to allow the evidence to be adduced.

April 1, 2012 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases