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James Laughland, acted for the Defendant insurer on appeal where the issue for determination was whether a Judge had been right to exclude a Claimant, against his will, from court whilst another gave his evidence. Fraud had been alleged and the trial judge agreed to the Defendant’s request that one Claimant be kept out of court whilst the other was cross-examined.
The Court of Appeal held that the starting point if the issue arose was that a party is entitled to be present throughout the hearing of a civil trial. The Judge’s decision in this case was wrong as she had failed to base her consideration upon that starting point, if at all. However, when considered as a whole the Court was not satisfied that the exclusion of one Claimant had rendered the trial for both unfair and therefore dismissed the appeal. A separate issue was whether the Judge had been correct to make a finding of fraud in this case. The Court found for the Claimants on this. However, the Judge’s decision that nonetheless the Claimants had failed to prove their case was maintained so the appeal was dismissed.