1st June 2021
Welcome to the latest edition of the TGC Fraud Update.
At the time of our last Update we were in the midst of the pandemic, a vaccine was a distant dream, and only a handful of remote hearings had led to findings of fundamental dishonesty and the exposure of insurance fraud.
As the cases reported in this edition of the Update demonstrate, the assessment of credibility through the medium of a remote video hearing has evolved into a practice with which representatives and judges are now familiar.
There does not appear to have been a downturn in the incidence of false claims, and there does not appear to have been a downturn in the exposure of those claims at trial. Those observations seem to be validated by the IFB’s estimations that, notwithstanding 3 national lockdowns, there have been 170,000 motor insurance claims in the last 15 months suspected to have been linked to crash-for-cash networks.
The way that we deal with cases may have changed, but those statistics and the current backlog of cases in the County Court certainly suggest that insurance fraud lawyers will be kept busy for the foreseeable future. It is important, however, to recognise that the time for the implementation of the whiplash reforms has finally arrived. It is an opportune moment to focus on the pressing questions for the industry: how will they work, and how will they affect us all? Will they achieve their stated aims of reducing whiplash claims while maintaining access to justice for genuinely injured parties? Will the mechanisms hinder or help the detection and prevention of fraud? We may not have all the answers right now, but Robert Riddell’s article ensures we are in the best position to be ready when the first cases cross our desks.
Also in this issue:
• Simon Browne QC and Anthony Johnson report on the latest (and final) instalment in the Seabrook trilogy. A victory in the Court of Appeal and clarification on Part 36 Offers.
• Tim Sharpe tells the tale of how Celebrity Big Brother winner Alex Reid was committed to prison for contempt of court.
• Anthony Johnson takes the sting out of the tail of the High Court decision in Brint v Barking  EWHC 290 (QB).
• Lionel Stride analyses the proper approach to the particularisation of deceit claims following Kasem v UCLH  EWHC 136 (QB).
• James Laughland treats us to the most boring pub quiz question of all time, and then seeks to regain our interest with the tale of a £4M claim gone wrong, for all the right reasons.
• I look at the admissibility of ANPR evidence in light of the latest County Court guidance from HHJ Cotter QC in Harrison v Buncher.
• George Davies explores what can happen when the boot is on the other foot: dishonesty of the defendant and indemnity / ‘exceptional circumstances’ costs.
As always, these articles are accompanied by summaries and interesting practice points taken from a host of recent decisions in the types of cases that we all deal with on a daily basis.
Please do contact a member of the TGC fraud team if you have any queries about any of the items dealt with in this issue, or indeed about any other issues relating to insurance fraud and related matters.
I hope that the contents of this newsletter are both interesting and useful; as ever I would welcome any feedback from our readers.