Rahman v. Hanif: Walsall County Court

Michael was instructed to represent the Claimant in this credit hire claim. The defence was unusual in that they pleaded the claim itself was an abuse of the Court’s process. The background was that the Claimant had been involved in a road traffic accident as a consequence of which he had suffered personal injury and other losses, including the cost of hiring an alternative vehicle on credit terms. The Claimant’s then Solicitors completed a Claim Notification Form and sent it to the Defendant’s Solicitors. The CNF set out the various heads of loss, including the claim for credit hire, and the matter then proceeded through the Claims Portal in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents. At Stage 2 of the process the Claimant’s Solicitors set out the heads of loss but, due to an administrative error, omitted the claim for credit hire. The matter was then settled on agreed payment terms and the Defendant’s Solicitors paid both the agreed damages and the appropriate fixed costs.

However, as the claim for credit hire had been omitted, the Claimant’s Solicitors then issued a claim. The defence argued that the claim was an abuse of process because the Claimant should have included all heads of loss at Stage 2 and in any event the claim had been settled on a full and final basis.

At trial, Michael was successful in persuading the Judge that Smikle v. Global Logistics could be distinguished on the facts and, likewise, Henderson v. Henderson and Phillips v. Wills did not support the Defendant’s contentions. The Judge was satisfied both that the Claimant was entitled to bring a claim for damages that had not been included in the Portal and that the settlement of the claim at Stage 2 related only to those heads of loss which were included at that stage. The Judge therefore ordered judgment for the Claimant for the full amount of the credit hire claim in addition to costs, notwithstanding that the Claimant had already been paid fixed costs when the matter was settled in the Portal.