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Accident Management Limited v Philpott, 25 September 2002

25 September 2002
The issues

Credit hire – professional negligence.

The facts

This was a liability only Trial. The Defendant Barrister advised Western in April 1996 following instructions to review the terms of its credit hire agreements in the light of Consumer Credit Act Litigation. His advice was in error following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Zoam -v- Rouamba. In particular, he advised that the 12 month clause should contain the words “12 months from the date of this agreement”, which did not in fact limit the period for payment of the hire charges to one “not exceeding 12 months beginning with the date of the agreement” but to a period of 12 months starting on the day following the date of the agreement. Moreover, the amendment did not include an express requirement on the hirer to pay hire charges within 12 months in any event and the agreement as re-drafted, did not stipulate that hire charges be payable in no more than 4 instalments.

The decision

The Defendant was clearly negligent in respect of the first complaint as had been identified in Zoam -v- Rouamba. The Court was satisfied that he was negligent in respect of the remaining allegations of negligence.

Comments

After the long war on the part of Insurers on this particular front, Insurers may not be surprised at this particular offshoot of satellite litigation!

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