A Central London County Court followed Supreme Court guidance in Summers v Fairclough Homes Limited (2012 UK SC 26) 2012 1 WLR 2004, by striking out the Claimant’s fraudulently exaggerated claim under CPR 3.4, as an abuse of process.
The Claimant said that she injured her right knee in May 2008 when she tripped over an uneven paving slab on a London street.
Liability was admitted and the claim was for £740,000.
Surveillance evidence showed that she had a pre-existing deformity in knee and had exaggerated the effect of the injury.
Video evidence had revealed the exaggeration. In light of the footage experts for both sides agree the injury would have resulted in minor aggravation and acceleration of no more than two to three months.
Prior to the trial the Defendant had made an application to strike out the claim on the basis that the exaggeration was so extensive it amounted to an abuse of the process.
On hearing the application HHJ Mitchell found that the Claimant had suffered a very minor injury worth no more than £1,500, less than 0.5% of the pleaded value of the case making it a fast track claim.
HHJ Mitchell accepted that it was a claim in which there had been a massive attempt to deceive the court.
As the awarded damages would be very small this was exactly the type of case envisaged by the Supreme Court in paragraph 49 of its judgment in Summers v Fairclough Homes Limited.
Therefore even though liability had been admitted, the extent of the Claimant's general damages claim
"was so nominal verses the extent of the pleaded value that the judge felt he could come to no other conclusion that the Claimant had fraudulently exaggerated her claim in such a way as to amount to abuse of process in that it would be just and proportionate to strike the claim out in its entirety’’.
The Judge ruled she was entitled to no more than £1,500, but her claim for damages was struck out in its entirety.
The case has been referred to the High Court where Mrs Fari has 21 days to appeal or contempt of court proceedings could be brought against her.