DAC Beachcroft Scotland continued our success in restricting pursuer's expenses to the Small Claim scale at a hearing in Glasgow Sheriff Court.
The pursuer's position was that Summary Cause expenses should be awarded because as per the rules, we had not stated a defence, if the court found that we had stated a defence we had not proceeded with it and if we had proceeded with our defence the defender had not proceeded with it in good faith.
The summons was served and we lodged a response form indicating our intention to state a defence. By the time the case called at its first hearing we had been unable to take a statement from the insured despite attempting to do so. As such we sought a continuation for 8 weeks to allow for investigation and specifically for a statement to be taken from the insured. This was allowed by the Court. During these eight weeks further attempts were made to contact the insured without success. Crucially in this case the Pursuer's agents were kept well aware that our liability investigations were ongoing. Quantum was agreed. As the continued hearing approached it became apparent the policyholder was not going to co-operate in our investigations and an offer to settle in the agreed sum with small expenses was put forward. This was rejected by the Pursuer's agent who sought summary cause expenses on the basis that we had not stated a defence. The hearing was continued once again for two weeks to allow parties to explore settlement. After the hearing answers to the statement of claim were lodged along with a tender in the agreed sum. The tender was accepted by the Pursuer under the qualification that Summary Cause expenses were awarded. This was opposed and a hearing before the Sheriff was fixed.
We highlighted that we had kept the Pursuer's agent up to date as to the position of the liability investigations.
The Sheriff noted that at no time did the Pursuer's agent seek decree or request a proof be set. The Sheriff was of the opinion that the Pursuer's agents were aware of our difficulties in investigating liability and this was the reason for the lack of written defences. Her Ladyship advised that she did not consider the actions of the defender to have been in bad faith nor were they unreasonable and expenses were awarded on the Small Claim scale, resulting in a saving of approximately £1,800.