26th January 2017
On 7 July 2016, Matt Waszak, instructed by Jessica Wilson of A&M Bacon, appeared for the successful appellant in an appeal of a summary assessment of a pre-LASPO ATE premium before Langstaff J in the case of Pollard v University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.
The ATE policy had been taken out by the claimant to fund a personal injury claim arising from a slipping accident in a hospital car park. Damages had been agreed by the parties in the sum of £3,000. The claimant succeeded in her claim in a fast-track trial before a Recorder in the County Court. During the summary assessment of costs, following the conclusion of trial, the Recorder reduced the premium, which had a £100,000 limit of indemnity from £18,073.02 to £2,500.00. The Recorder approached that reduction in two ways: (i) he considered that the appropriate limit of indemnity for the policy would not have exceeded £15,000; and (ii) he considered that an appropriate premium applicable to £100,000 could be pro-rated down so that the appropriate level of premium for £15,000 was 15 percent of that sum.
The Recorder made the reduction to the premium, based on that approach, without supporting evidence and in the face of evidence which explained in detail the way in which the premium had been calculated. Langstaff J upheld the appeal in relation to the reduction of the premium, holding that the Recorder’s summary assessment amounted to an “error in principle”. Importantly, Langstaff J also held that Rogers v Merthyr Tydfil  EWCA Civ 1134 remained undiminished as the central case in relation to this point (see paragraph 46), and expressed reservations about Foskett J’s judgment in Surrey & Ors v Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals & Ors  EWHC 1598 (QB) (see paragraphs 40 and 45).
The judgment can be accessed here.