Aviva Insurance v. Steffen
Garnham J finds one count of contempt proved and two counts not proved. Marcus Grant (instructed by Laura Sales of Keoghs LLP) appeared for Aviva Insurance in committal proceedings in the Queen’s Bench Division for contempt of court in respect of signing a statement of truth on one or more documents in County Court proceedings that Aviva asserted the Respondent knew to be untrue.
Aviva claimed that the named Respondent had lent his identity to front a claim when someone other than him was driving his car at the time of the accident; further that he advanced a claim for £1,026 in respect of 12 physiotherapy sessions he asserted he had received, substantiated by serving a discharge report from the physiotherapist who allegedly had treated him; Aviva asserted that he had not undergone the treatment and that the documents asserting otherwise were false. Finally, Aviva asserted that the Respondent advanced an account of the accident that he knew to be false in order to substantiate an unfounded claim for damages.
The Court found the first and third counts not proved. The Court rejected an purported Defence that the Defendant had not read the documents he signed but trusted his solicitors to ensure that they were accurate and true. The Court found that the Defendant had dishonestly signed a statement of truth on a Schedule of Loss claiming damages for physiotherapy charges that he had not incurred and had no intention of incurring. The Defendant was fined £1,000, payable in instalments and there was no order as to costs.