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Covey v Harris [2021] EWHC 2211 (QB) - Rochelle Powell, Temple Garden Chambers & Rebecca Henshaw

18/10/21. The Defendant was successful in amending his defence to plead a positive case of fundamental dishonesty, as it was both sensible and in keeping with the overriding objective to do so, and had not prejudiced the Claimant.


This was a personal injury claim for £8.8 million, primary liability had been admitted and agreed at 80/20 in the Claimant’s favour, subject to an issue of contributory negligence due to the Claimant’s failure to wear a seatbelt.

John Bowers QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court, found that the Claimant had, for some time, known the Defendant’s case was that she was fundamentally dishonest. The Defendant served their amended defence on 14 June 2021, With the trial due to start on 12 July of the same year. The amended defence averred that the Claimant had been fundamentally dishonest and invited the Court to dismiss the claim entirely, pursuant to s.57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. In the alternative, the Defendant pleaded that the Claimant’s account of the index accident was unreliable and had exaggerated her symptoms, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The Claimant opposed the amendment on the grounds of lateness, lack of necessity and that the defence had no reasonable prospects of success. The Claimant particularly relied on Mustard v Flower & Ors [2021] EWHC 846 (QB).

The Decision

The judge considered the following pertinent issues:

1) The procedural history of the case was important. The Claimant had, at various stages, sought the...

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