The headline to this post is a little misleading as we find ourselves looking at the latest decision in the wonderful world of Credit Hire claims.
This follows a recent decision in the case of EUI v Charles and others [2018
] in which "impecunious” credit hire Claimants were ordered to provide some documents by way of pre-action disclosure.
The Defendants had applied to the court for Pre-Action disclosure
against seven Claimants, all of whom had brought claims for credit hire
services provided by Direct Accident Management (DAM). The Claimants, who all claimed to be impecunious, had all instructed the same solicitor, Bond Turner. Both DAM and Bond Turner form part of Anexo Group plc.
HHJ Harrison, sitting in the County Court in Cardiff, held that it was appropriate in the instant case to allow the Application for each of the Claimants to produce pay slips and bank statements for a 3 month period in order to support any claim for impecuniosity, as this would help the Defendant insurer to make realistic settlement offers.
However, HHJ Harrison stated;
"Granting pre-action disclosure of documents that in the ordinary course of events would remain private, is both unusual and a step that should not be taken lightly. However, in my judgment the documents sought are different in nature to a full set of medical records and their disclosure is significantly less intrusive
Credit Hire claims continue to be a hard fought battleground and this case shows that Defendants are looking far more closely at the relationships between solicitors and credit hire providers. In this instance, both companies were under the same umbrella of Anexo whose business model was based on the "impecunious” Claimant. This would of course open the claim to the full rate of credit hire available and not the basic hire rate that would otherwise be allowed.
Each case for credit hire would still turn on its own facts but it’s perhaps important to remember that in claims where part or all of your client’s claim is for someone else’s benefit eg; a credit hire or credit repair claim, QOCS protection could be lost for that part of the claim. It is also important to remember that credit hire claims can run to huge amounts, as is shown in this case where the claims for credit hire ranged from £3,145 to £37,819. Not all ATE policies would cover such claims. Does yours?
It will perhaps not surprise you to learn that our ClaimSafe ATE policy does indeed cover claims for credit hire or credit repair.