Principia have been successful in appealing an abuse of process finding in credit hire claims.
Principia instructed Benjamin Williams QC of 4 New Square for the appeal of an issue which is leading to considerable satellite litigation in the county court, and on which Judge Backhouse’s decision brings much needed clarity.
The successful claimant appealed against an order striking out a credit hire claim as an abuse of process. A deputy district judge had held that the claim was abusive, as it should have been started under the RTA portal together with the claimant’s PI claim, which had been brought and compromised under the portal by other lawyers.
Her Honour Judge Backhouse quashed the DDJ’s order. There was no abuse in presenting a hire claim separately, and outside the portal, as the pre-action protocol (PAP) specifically allows for this. The compromise of the PI claim under the portal did not dispose of the credit hire claim, as the defendant’s insurer, Southern Rock, knew that it was being pursued separately outside the portal, and had itself appointed separate agents to deal with it. For the same reason, the separate hire claim did not prejudice or oppress Southern Rock in any way. Nor was there any waste of court resources in the pursuit of the separate claim, as once the PI claim settled but the credit hire claim did not, court proceedings would have been inevitable in any event under para 7.60 of the PAP. In these circumstances, the DDJ’s decision was plainly wrong. The appeal was allowed with costs assessed at £12,000.