Solicitors Ordered to Pay Wasted Costs After Signing False Statement of Truth

Article

05 April, 2016

In Brown v Haven Insurance Company Ltd (unreported), 7 January 2016, (Leeds County Court), the court heard an application for wasted costs against solicitors who had signed a statement of truth on a schedule of damages which included an incorrect claim for physiotherapy.

The Judge penalised the solicitors with a wasted costs order and indemnity costs for signing a statement of truth on a schedule of damages, which included a false claim for physiotherapy charges. The claim for physiotherapy continued to be made, even after it was challenged by the defendant in its counter schedule, until it became clear at trial that no physiotherapy had taken place.

Contrary to the CPR, the solicitor did not have specific instructions to sign the statement of truth. It came to light that the firm's procedure was to get a general form of authority from the client and then sign any documents they considered to be appropriate, telling the client afterwards.

Forbes comment

The Judgment provides a strongly worded warning to solicitors and expressed his grave reservation of the practice of some solicitors signing statements of truth on behalf of clients, especially in circumstances where the information is "manifestly incorrect".

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