02 March, 2015
Smith -v- Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
Forbes has successfully been one of the first Defendant law firms to have QOCS dis-applied after the Court found that the Claimant's claim had been "fundamentally dishonest".
The Claimant brought a claim against Oldham MBC after alleging that she had fallen in the road and sustained a personal injury. It subsequently emerged that the Claimant's uncle had also brought a claim against Oldham MBC relating to the same defect. Forbes' Anti Fraud unit carried out extensive investigations which linked the Claimant and her uncle to other people in the area who had also brought tripping claims against Oldham MBC.
At the point of alleging Fraud, the Claimant discontinued her claim and sought to rely on QOCS. A prompt application was made to the Court for an Order that the claim be considered to be "fundamentally dishonest". The application was successful, QOCS was duly dis-applied and steps are to be taken for costs to be recovered from the Claimant.
Chris Booth the Partner handling this case commented, "We are delighted to be one of the first law firms to secure a finding of 'fundamental dishonesty' after the Claimant had discontinued her claim. In a case such as this where the claim is unashamedly dishonest, it is only right that the perpetrator re-pay the costs to the public purse."
This case demonstrates how a finding of "fundamental dishonesty" can be utilised in the future to dis-apply QOCS and to secure the re-payment of costs by a dishonest Claimant. In the case of Gosling v Screwfix Direct Ltd the Court made its finding of "fundamental dishonesty" based on surveillance evidence. It is therefore encouraging that that the Court was prepared to make the finding on the basis of evidence that might be considered less clear cut.
For further advice on this issue please contact Chris Booth on 01254 662831 or email Chris Booth