DWF first to successfully apply Section 57 in liability dispute

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a claimant who would have recovered 25% of his claim for damages for personal injury following a road accident, had his entire claim dismissed under Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 due to his fundamental dishonesty. The section was introduced by Parliament to combat fraudulent personal injury claims. The claimant, a Mr Saqib Hanif of Blackburn was also ordered to pay the defendents legal costs.

Leading national law firm DWF acted for the insurer in the defence of the claim and argued that Section 57 should apply, notwithstanding the fact that liability for the accident was in dispute.

His Honour Judge Main QC, sitting in Manchester County Court on 11 May, dismissed the whole claim, including parts that did not relate to the injury claim, after the claimant suggested he had a witness who supported his case. Judge Main concluded however that the witness was not at the scene and despite the fact the defendant had contributed to the collision taking place, the claim was dismissed in full. In summing up the case, he concluded:

- The claimant had made a bogus witness questionnaire in support of his claim

- The witness questionnaire had been advanced in an effort to persuade the judge that the defendant was lying

- There was an attempt to engage the defendant in a fraud and conspiracy, albeit not necessarily with the claimant’s knowledge

- As a result of the claimant attempting to advance the bogus questionnaire, the claim was fundamentally dishonest and was dismissed

- Although the claimant would have received over £1,145 (25% of his claim), he received nothing and was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs.

DWF Director, Jewels Chamberlain said “It is interesting that the Judge applied Section 57 in this case and the decision provides some clarity around the operation and application of Section 57 to motor cases where liability is in dispute. Although the claimant had also made a claim for losses that were not linked to his personal injury claim, they were also struck out.”

Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act, was introduced in April 2015 and applies to all personal injury cases, issued after 13 April 2015. Until now, Section 57 had not been applied in a case where liability was in dispute.