At trial, the claimant’s injury claim was dismissed, with the hire claim (c.£30,000) being restricted to loss of profit (£260) and the storage claim (83 days) restricted to 22 days. The claimant was debarred from relying on impecuniosity.

The claimant was granted permission to appeal on four of five grounds. Permission to appeal the decision to treat the claimant as pecunious at trial was refused.

The successful grounds were: the judge was wrong in his decision to award loss of profit, wrong in his calculation of loss of profit, wrong to award only 22 days storage and wrong to offset the defendant’s costs against the claimant’s.

The claimant argued that the trial judge had incorrectly applied Hussain v EUI [2019] EWHC 2647 (QB) and Zurich Insurance plc v Sammer Umerji (2014) EWCA Civ 357.

In the original trial, it was found that the claimant had access to an alternative vehicle that the claimant protested had an electrical fault preventing it from being used. The claimant argued that the burden was on the defendant to prove the alternative vehicle could have been used, and he further averred that the defendant should have inspected it. In response, the defendant referred the appeal judge to the relevance of Hussain v EUI [2019] EWHC 2647 (QB) that the judge agreed “chimed” with the facts of this case. It was found that the alternative vehicle was not a “red herring” but critical to the case. The claimant was criticised for not providing disclosure for the vehicle and for not being candid enough to address the vehicle in witness evidence. It was not for the defendant to present the evidence to support the claimant’s case for need.

The appeal judge dismissed the appeal entirely, awarding the defendant an interim payment for costs, with further costs to be assessed. A costly day for the claimant that wiped out the limited award he achieved at the original hearing.

Jared Mallinson, Partner & Head of Counter Fraud at HF said, “It is pleasing to see the Courts reaffirm the HF decision of Hussain v EUI [2019] EWHC 2647 (QB) reducing a hire claim of nearly £30,000 to just £260. Our clients are too often faced with credit hire claims that are grossly disproportionate to financial loss sustained and this decision shows the importance of taking a robust approach to assessing and defending such claims.”

Kay Denyer, Head of Claims Fraud at Hastings Direct commented, “Credit hire can often be seen as a way to inflate the value of a claim with parties seemingly willing to sign up to agreements that would make them liable to very large amounts with little regard for the consequences. We will not tolerate our customers’ policies being treated as a way to exploit the system, and we will continue to challenge such unmeritorious claims”