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Piria v Ayling

25 February 2003
The issues

ATE Premium – champerty – reasonableness – premium size – simple road traffic accident.

The facts

The Claimant had an RTA on 1st December 1997. The Claimant accepted £13,000.00 paid into Court on 3rd January 2002. When her costs were assessed, the Defendant objected to paying the ATE premium of £2,600.00 or nearly 20% of the damages recovered. The Claimant had entered into a contract of insurance on the 27th March 2001. The Insurer provided indemnity to a limit of £10,000.00. The premium was stated as being 20% of damages awarded.

The decision

The Agreement was not champertous. The essence of champerty lay as Lord Mustill had stated in Giles -v- Thompson in the temptation on the part of a party funding litigation to exaggerate the claim or suppress evidence. Here, in reality, there was no such danger as the Insurer was not in a position to interfere with the litigation.

2. The sum of £2,600.00 was excessive for an ATE Premium in what was a simple road traffic case. It was more than 25% of the limit of indemnity. There had been no submissions or evidence as to the availability of other suitable ATE policies. The Defendants however had conceded that the appropriate premium should now be no more than £350.00. That sum would be allowed plus IPT making a total of £367.50.

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