Summary of Recent Cases – Substantive Law

Hussain v Hussain & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 1367, [2012] All ER (D) 224 (Oct)

The Court of Appeal held that the judge at first instance had been wrong to infer that the claimant had been involved in a staged road traffic accident.

The claimant (C) was the driver of a vehicle which was supposedly in a collision with a vehicle being driven by the first defendant (D1). D2 was the insurer of the vehicle being driven by D1. C claimed damages for personal injury and vehicle damage from D1. D2’s defence put C to proof that the accident had happened; and/or alleged that the accident had been staged in order to found a bogus insurance claim. The basis of D2’s defence was that D1 had been involved in a number of other fraudulent road traffic accidents at the material time.

The judge at first instance held that the fact that D1 had been involved in a fraud upon the insurer allowed him to infer that C had been a party to that fraud, on the basis that the fraud would only make economic sense if C were in on the conspiracy. In addition the judge relied on the fact that C’s GP’s medical notes did not record that C had been in a road traffic accident. Accordingly, the judge held that on the balance of probabilities C had been involved in a fraud.

On appeal, C submitted that the conclusion of the judge was not justified and was against the weight of the evidence. The Court of Appeal held that the judge was wrong to draw the inference that C had been party to the fraud. The judge at first instance had made no findings about the manner in which C had given his evidence or the weaknesses in it. The judge placed too much weight upon the gap in C’s medical records. In any case the gap in the medical records might suggest that C was not a party to the conspiracy. The judge had not found facts sufficient to infer that C was party to D1’s fraud and the appeal would be allowed.

November 19, 2012 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases