Horwich Farrelly secures landmark Section 57 knockout ruling

Horwich Farrelly has successfully employed Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (CJCA) to secure the first finding of fundamental dishonesty, leading to a boxer’s exaggerated claim being dismissed in full.

In the case of Hughes, Kindon and Jones v KGM, heard on 1 April 2016 at Taunton County Court, Jones’s claim was struck out for failing to provide witness evidence, with costs awarded to KGM. However, Deputy District Judge Eaton-Hart found that the impact was sufficient to have caused injury to Hughes (a boxer) and Kindon, but only for a period of just two weeks, rather than the twelve months claimed. The judge initially awarded the pair £750 each in damages.

Horwich Farrelly felt this was an unjust result. The firm’s lawyers pointed out that during a medical examination six weeks after the accident, the claimants had stated they were still suffering from injuries arising from the incident. Given that the judge had decided that the injury period lasted just two weeks, it stood to reason that they had lied during the examination.

As a result, Judge Eaton-Hart accepted the firm’s request for Hughes’ and Kindon’s claims to be ruled as fundamentally dishonest.

Striking out the claims in their entirety, he said that the two claimants had “presented a deliberate inaccurate position to the medical expert for financial gain”.

The claimants automatically lost QOCS protection and were ordered to pay the insurer costs of £6,100.

Ronan McCann, fraud partner at Horwich Farrelly said: “This is a very important result for the insurance industry as a whole. We were able to successfully utilise Section 57 CJCA 2015 to our advantage to have the claims struck out and come away with an enforceable costs order.

“In the case of boxer, Michael Hughes, who was one of the dishonest claimants, we delivered the knockout blow by using the new rules regarding fundamental dishonesty to get the best result for our client.

“Whilst we’re expecting to see the ‘substantial injustice’ clause of CJCA 2015 tested in the coming months, this result sends a clear message that we will use the full range of tools at our disposal to tackle dishonest claims.”