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judge's contempt warning for solicitors involved in 'crash for cash' claims

12 December 2017

Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd (LVI) brought successful committal proceedings against nine defendants for contempt of court following six linked incidents involving alleged fraudulent motor claims. Whilst various claimant law firms were involved – Goldsworth, Nesbit Law Group and Intricate Law by the time of committal, all claims were either discontinued or dismissed at trial as being unable to prove the 'accidents' occurred as alleged or at all. 

The contempt case focussed on the legal documents where in each case statements of truth (some with interpreters) on various court documents – CNFs, particulars of claim, schedules of loss, and witness statements – were either signed by the defendant or verified by their solicitors pursuant to CPR 22.1(6).

Mr Justice Warby delivered judgment in the High Court and found that the defendants had all lied from the outset. But as a warning indicated that as the majority of road traffic accident claims are intimated through CNF’s that contempt proceedings could be founded on these pre-action documents too. As all of these were signed by solicitors, there was a strong indication that unless appropriate due diligence is carried out, solicitors acting for claimants in similar cases could also be found in contempt of court.

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