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Burke v Thornton

7 August 2000
The issues

Disclosure – Credit Hire Claim – Insurance Agreement

The facts

Claimant sued Defendant for damages after a road traffic accident. The claim included credit hire. The Claimant had paid a premium and had entered into an indemnity insurance contract with AA, a company within the credit hire group). AA’s underwriters, A1, paid the hire charges pursuant to the policy after the action had continued for over 51 weeks.

The Defendant applied for disclosure with the master agreement between AA and A1 and between AA and the credit Hire Company. The Claimant contended that the Court had no jurisdiction to make orders against none parties in the Small Claims matter and that moreover, the Claimant was not entitled to go behind AA’s policy.

The decision

The application for disclosure was granted and the case was re-allocated to the fast track. Disclosure was necessary because to refuse the application would put the parties on an unequal footing contrary to Part 1 Rule 11 (2). It was for the Trial Judge to determine whether the agreement was a sham.

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