Credit Hire down under...

This is one for those interested in the spread of the credit hire industry globally (or for the anoraks).

Already irritating insurers in Australia, the decision of the New Zealand Court of Appeal in Frucor Beverages Limited & Ors v Blumberg & Ors [2019] NZCA 547 available at the dropbox link here:

The decision was a positive one. In summary, the Court of Appeal considered eight issues and gave issues for decision as follows:

Issue 1: In respect of R2D’s charges for the replacement car, had the respondent incurred a compensatable loss or expense recoverable by him or her from the appellant?

Answer: Yes.

Issue 2: Was R2D’s hire agreement unenforceable, in that it assigned a bare cause of action and was champertous?

Answer: No.

Issue 3: Did the Judge err in applying a subjective rather than an objective standard when considering the reasonableness of the respondent hiring a replacement car from R2D?

Answer: No.

Issue 4: Was it reasonable for the respondent to take the R2D option rather than one of the other available options?

Answer: Yes.

Issue 5: Were R2D’s hire charges reasonable?

Answer: Yes.

Issue 6: Did R2D’s charges include the cost of additional services which were not properly allowed by the Judge to the respondent as mitigation expenses?

Answer: No.

Issue 7: Was the repairer’s carelessness in not ordering parts in a timely way an intervening cause disentitling the respondent from recovering R2D’s hire charges for the resulting extended repair period of some 12 days?

Answer: No.

Issue 8: Did the Judge err in allowing the respondent interest on the judgment sum?

Answer: No.

The appeal is accordingly dismissed.

On a related point, I think we all know how effective Jacinda Ardern (the New Zealand Prime Minister) has been at dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in New Zealand but just look at paragraph 162 of the judgment…

All of this does not reflect well on the motor vehicle insurers who are the real appellants. These insurers are certainly entitled to hold R2D to hiring a vehicle broadly similar to that damaged, and at a reasonable market rate. But, instead of being seemingly intent on knocking R2D out of business, it is to be hoped that New Zealand’s motor vehicle insurers will now accept that R2D is providing a service that should be available to not-at-fault drivers because it minimises inconvenience to them. The judgments of the House of Lords in Dimond v Lovell, particularly but not only that of Lord Nicholls, should be mandatory reading for these insurers.”

If Carlsberg wrote credit hire judgments…

The credit hire company involved in the appeals was Right2Drive who operate in both Australia and New Zealand. A solicitor who acts on their behalf, David Simons, is a credit hire lawyer based in Sydney, Australia, and has recently joined the Credit Hire Forum.

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