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HHJ Wood QC permits committal proceedings for contempt of Court to proceed against 9 injury claimants. Marcus Grant instructed by Marsha Crossland of DWF LLP, represented Liverpool Victoria Insurance who applied to commit to prison for contempt off Court nine members of the Turkish community in North London who brought injury claims arising from three alleged accidents.
The Insurance company relied on similar fact evidence to confirm links between the identity of the nominal insureds in whose name policies of insurance had been taken out; no premiums were paid on the policies, connected bank accounts and email addresses were used to set up the policies and neither the named insureds nor their cars could be traced. The alleged accidents occurred 80 miles away from where they allegedly resided. Links could be made between the occupants in two of the three accidents and a link was established between a claimant in the third alleged accident and the director of an accident management company that was used by all nine claimants.
The claimants in the county court action below discontinued their claims on the first day of a 5 day trial where a single Judge was asked to hear them consecutively. Liverpool Victoria contended that they were contrived collisions fabricated for the purpose of attempting to perpetrate insurance fraud. Had the claims succeeded, the Liverpool Victoria would have been faced with a costs bill of £170,000.
HHJ Wood QC sitting as a Judge of the High Court considered the similar fact evidence satisfied the of strong prima facie evidence threshold test, and considered that it was both proportionate and in the public interest that the committal action proceed to a full trial.
Barnes v Seabrook  EWHC 1849 and South Wales Fire & Rescue v Smith  EWHC 1749 considered.