Legal Alert: Phantom Passengers and related claims pursuant to Section 57 CJCA 2015

Section 57 CJCA 2015 allows for claims to be dismissed where the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest in respect related claims.

Iain Davison at Weightmans analyses a recent legal decision which gave important clarity on the issue of phantom passengers and fundamental dishonesty.

Summary

Section 57 CJCA 2015 allows for claims to be dismissed where the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest in respect related claims.

Some claimants supporting phantom passengers have previously been able to persuade the Court that their claims should not be dismissed under Section 57 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, where the passengers’ claims had discontinued prior to litigation on the basis that such claims did not constitute “related claims”, as they were not litigated.

However, the Court has now provided welcome confirmation that regardless of the stage the passengers’ claims got to, they will be treated as “related claims”.

Facts

Section 57(8) CJCA 2015, defines a related claim a claim for damages in respect of personal injury which is made:-

“(a) in connection with the same incident/series of incidents in connection with which the primary claim is made and

(b) by a person other than the person who made the primary claim.”

A recent appeal decision involved a claimant driver who had supported three passenger claims when the defendant gave evidence that there was only one passenger.  In an appeal decision, the Court confirmed that even though the three passenger claims were abandoned before litigation, they were “related claims” and the driver’s claim was dismissed and they had to pay the defendant’s costs.

Comment 

This is a welcome endorsement of our position on these claims since the introduction of fundamental dishonesty: if a claimant supports phantom passengers at any stage their own claim should fail, regardless of whether they have suffered genuine injury.

For further advice on fundamental dishonesty and combatting phantom passenger claims, please contact Iain Davison, Partner on 0113 213 4077 or email at iain.davison@weightmans.com or Sandra MacMichael, Associate, on 0151 242 6879 or at sandra.macmichael@weightmans.com.

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