The Claimant claimed for injuries suffered through dust inhalation. Was it reasonable for the Claimant to purchase an ATE insurance policy with a premium of £2,730 (inc IPT) after the Defendants had admitted primary liability but had expressly reserved their position on causation?
Held: In Master Haworth’s judgment there were a number of risks which it was proper to insure at the time the policy was taken out, some 5 months after primary liability had been admitted. These were:
- A real risk on causation, i.e. that the Court would find the dust exposure had not caused the injury;
- The risk of the Defendant withdrawing its admission;
- The risk of the Defendant making a Part 36 offer which the Claimant does not accept but fails to beat;
- The risk of an adverse interim costs order; and
- The risk of failing to recover a disbursement
It was therefore reasonable for the Claimant to purchase an ATE policy after an admission of liability, and Master Haworth concurred with the judgment of HHJ Inglis in the Avril v Boultby (2008).
Secondly, a premium of £2,730 (inc IPT) was reasonable in all the circumstances.
The High Court has approved the recovery of an ATE insurance premium taken out after an admission of liability, because of the continuing risks. It is fair to comment that in this case the Defendant had specifically reserved their position on causation
, but nevertheless, the rationale of this decision was based on the 5 risks identified above, of which causation was only one. For a similar decision where the Defendant admitted liability without making any comment on causation
, see Avril v Boultby (2008) which the Court specifically approved in this case (para. 27).
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