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A High Court appeal decision which considers fundamental dishonesty and credibility evidence against a claimant - Dan Wood, Ropewalk Chambers & Peter Ward, DAC Beachcroft

28/08/18. Case analysis of Molodi v Cambridge Vibration Maintenance Service and another [2018] EWHC 1288 (QB), [2018] All ER (D) 136 (May) by Dan Wood, barrister at Ropewalk Chambers and Peter Ward, associate at DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd,

This judgment provides helpful points about the application of rules around fundamentally dishonesty, the importance of claim notification forms and the weight to attach to inconsistencies in evidence. Not only was the claimant's claim for personal injury dismissed on appeal but it was also held that the claim was fundamentally dishonest.

Background

The claim arose in relation to a road traffic incident on 4 February 2015. Proceedings were issued on 24 August 2015 (notably after the implementation of CJCA 2015, s 57). Breach of duty was not in issue, but causation was. In particular, the defendants contended that the velocity of the index collision was insufficient to give rise to the loss and damage alleged by the claimant (most notably comprising a claim for personal injury).

In accordance with the approach espoused in Casey v Carwright [2006] EWCA Civ 1280, [2006] All ER (D) 72 (Oct) (ie, per Dyson LJ at para [30]), the defendants’ solicitor, Mr Orritt of DAC Beachcroft, had prepared a witness statement clarifying the grounds for disputing causation (eg, the speed at which the vehicles contacted and the absence of damage to the defendants’ vehicle), but the defendants did not seek to rely on their own expert evidence (eg, forensic engineering evidence regarding the velocity of the collision). As such, the central evidential tenets of the case were the accounts of the three participants in the incident who had provided statements (ie, the claimant and the two occupants of the defendants’ vehicle), the claimant’s medical evidence (ie, a medico-legal report, supplemented by answers to questions asked by the defendants pursuant to CPR 35, and the claimant’s medical records), an engineer’s report relating to the claimant’s vehicle that had not been treated as expert evidence (eg, which did not comply with the provisions of CPR 35 and for which no permission had been granted) and results from investigations conducted on the defendants’ behalves by their specialist solicitors, DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd (most notably comprising records of previous claims linked to the claimant reflected on the CUE database).

Trial

The matter came before HHJ Main QC for a trial on liability (ie, by reference to causation) and quantum.

At the trial, the claimant gave evidence that...

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