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Copley v Lawn and Maden v Haller, Court of Appeal, 17 June 2009

26 June 2009

Judgment in Copley v Lawn and Maden v Haller was handed down last week on 17 June 2009.

The case concerned insurers (or any other third party) offering free replacement cars as opposed to claimants hiring on a credit hire basis.

Judgment was entered for the claimants and the Court found that it was not unreasonable to reject or ignore an offer, where it does not make the cost of hire clear to the defendant, thereby enabling them to make a realistic comparison with the cost they are about to incur.

Conversely, if a claimant does have clear details of the alternative vehicle and cost, and proceeds to reject or ignore it, they may be considered to have acted unreasonably. The claimant, however, will still be entitled to at least the cost, which the defendant can show they would reasonably have incurred. As a result, the claimant would not forfeit the damages claim altogether.

The Court also refused permission to appeal the decision to the House of Lords.

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