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Editorial: New Edition of Ellis and Kevan on Credit Hire - Aidan Ellis, Temple Garden Chambers

27/10/16. This month I have been putting the finishing touches to an updated edition of Ellis and Kevan on Credit Hire. When I completed the previous edition, I remember thinking that credit hire had been around for so long and credit hire cases argued so often, that surely most of the legal issues had been resolved. It turns out, however, that once one issue is resolved another soon rises to take its place.

It is true, of course, that over the last three years there have been a decreasing number of enforceability arguments, as the Cancellation Regulations of 2008 drifted towards repeal and irrelevance. Over the same period, new life has been breathed into mitigation arguments, with the Court of Appeal decisions in Umerji and Opoku v Tintas at the forefront. We are likely to see more developments in this area in the future, perhaps with an insurer finally taking issues around the availability of a courtesy car from the Claimant’s own insurer to the higher courts.

No discussion of developments in credit hire would be complete without some mention of rates. It is remarkable that with Stevens v Equity Syndicate Management, the Court of Appeal has had a fourth attempt at clarifying the approach to evidence of Basic Hire Rates. Not only does that decision still leave various arguments open to the parties on the facts, but it is also unlikely to be the last word on the matter, with issues arising from excess waivers warranting resolution at Court of Appeal level in the near future.

While credit hire charges continue to make up a substantial proportion of contested claims following road traffic accidents, new legal challenges will continue to be mounted. Perhaps the latest will be procedural and may revolve around how best to accommodate credit hire within the pre-action protocol process or penalise non-compliance with that process. This time, I have no doubt that in another four years there will be another raft of new decisions and new issues to incorporate into the next edition.

Aidan Ellis
Temple Garden Chambers

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