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Legal Mind Case and Commentary No.5: Assessing Dishonesty - Dr Hugh Koch & Dr Elizabeth Boyd

09/06/16. Case: Gamsby v Rowland. County Court Birmingham 22/09/15 - The claimant sought damage for personal injury following a road traffic accident. There was a difference of opinion between claimant and defendant over the circumstances of the accident. The claim was defended on liability on the basis that there had been no collision between the vehicles. Giving judgment,

it was held that:

  • There had been no collision.

  • The claimant had wilfully neglected to disclose relevant information to the medical expert, undermining his credibility.

  • No index-event related car damage was found (only pre-existing damage).

Key points:

It highlights how fundamental dishonesty can play a part in the claim. (Holmes, M (2016)).


This case confirms how important it is for the Court, lawyers and experts to consider with great diligence and logicality the evidence provided by claimants and assess the psychological variables of reliability, validity and certainty and truthfulness in order to reach a robust conclusion and judgment. Each professional uses his own rules to test the consistency and plausibility of evidence provided. The ‘truth eventually will out’ but requires a robust way to interview, interrogate, and piece together information to arrive at a final view of whether fundamental honesty or dishonesty is at play.


Dr Hugh Koch and Dr Elizabeth Boyd


Source of Court of Appeal Judgement –

Dr Hugh Koch and Dr Elizabeth Boyd, Hugh Koch Associates, Cheltenham, Glos, UK.

Background publications related to issues raised here:

Koch HCH, Beesley F and Farrant A (2015) Investigating reliability and truthfulness in Personal Injury Interviews. Solicitors Journal.

Koch HCH (2015) – Evidential Reliability: Practical Guide for Lawyers – Special Edition. Solicitors Journal.

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