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£30,000 Credit Hire Claim Dismissed With Issue-Based Costs Order Made

20th June 2017

In Braibente v QBE Insurance, Matt Waszak (instructed by Stuart Clemson of DWF and Suky Cheema of QBE Insurance) acted for the defendant insurer in the successful dismissal of a claim for credit hire and storage charges exceeding £30,000. District Judge Parker, sitting in the Wandsworth County Court, handed down a written judgment on 13 June 2017 following trial on 20 April 2017.

The claims arose from an incident in which the claimant’s parked motorcycle was knocked over and damaged by the defendant’s insured driver. Six weeks after the incident, the motorcycle was inspected and a repair work estimate obtained. Based on that estimate, the defendant insurer transferred funds to the repairing garage to undertake the repair work. Following an exchange of correspondence, the claimant declined the defendant’s offer to repair his motorcycle and the defendant retrieved the money that had been paid. Three months after the incident, the claimant hired the first of three different replacement motorcycles. The total period of hire spanned 218 days, with the hire charges amounting to £29,795.04.

The Judge dismissed the hire claim in its entirety on the basis that the claimant had failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate his loss. The further claims for storage and miscellaneous expenses were also dismissed.

There had remained between the parties a dispute as to the extent of the damage sustained to the motorcycle. In addition to the estimate of repair work obtained six weeks after the incident, a later estimate was obtained by the claimant indicating that the motorcycle was beyond economic repair. The claimant succeeded on his claim for the pre-accident value, with judgment obtained in the amount claimed.

At a hearing on 13 June 2017, at which judgment was handed down, District Judge Parker considered that it was appropriate, applying her discretion under CPR 44.2 and the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Summit Property Limited v Pitmans (A Firm) [2001] EWCA Civ 2020 (paragraph 17 per Longmore LJ), to make an issue-based costs order. The claimant was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs of the action, while the defendant was ordered to pay 10% of the claimant’s costs. That order reflected the fact that the claimant had succeeded only on the limited claim for pre-accident value. The costs were subject to summary assessment.

A written copy of the judgment can be provided upon request.

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Matthew Waszak

Matthew Waszak
Year of Call: 2012

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