Philip Smikle v Global Logistics (2016) (unreported)

The court had to consider whether a claim for car hire arising out of an accident that had already been settled in the previous year was an abuse of process.

The Claimant suffered personal injuries as a result of a car accident on 2 June 2015. The Claimant submitted the claim through the Portal on 25 June 2015 and indicated on three separate Claim Notification Forms (CNF) that he did not need an alternative vehicle nor did he require the Defendant's insurers to provide him with an alternative vehicle.

However, the Claimant had hired a vehicle from Accident Exchange. On 7 August 2015 Accident Exchange lodged a claim for the vehicle but the Defendant heard nothing further and reasonably assumed that was the end of the matter. The case proceeded to settle with the usual heads of loss arising from a whiplash claim.

The Claimant issued new proceedings in late January 2016 through a different solicitor, for a substantial credit hire claim. The courts had to consider whether this was an abuse of process.

When making a finding that it was, the court took into account that the Claimant had failed to provide a witness statement to explain the matter, and there was a Statement of Truth on the CNF signed by his original solicitors on his behalf, denying he had hired a vehicle.

The court held that the Defendant was entitled to rely on this Statement of Truth and to not allow them to do so would go behind "the whole spirit of the CPR".

On that basis the court found it would be an abuse of process to allow the claim to continue and granted the Defendant's application for summary judgment.