Dishonest claimant facing contempt charge

as court rails at PI fraud tactic

The Court of Appeal has issued a stern warning that dishonest claimants - and their lawyers - will not escape the consequences of unscrupulous conduct simply by dropping the cases when they begin to unravel.

The warning is contained in Zurich Insurance Plc v Romaine, in which Lord Justice Haddon-Cave overturned the High Court’s decision not to proceed immediately with contempt proceedings against 69-year-old David Romaine. The latter had claimed for noise-induced hearing loss against his former employer but gave false submissions about not playing electric guitar in a rock band.

Romaine insisted he had been cold-called by claims farmers and believed he was a victim of a scheme to make money from his hearing loss. He told the court his solicitors, the now-defunct Asons, told him it would lodge a claim of between £1,000 and £5,000 and would do paperwork which he understood would be ‘generic’. He submitted that ’at no stage’ did he sign a statement of truth or see the Part 18 responses which contained an electronic signature which had been applied by Asons.

In his judgment granting permission to bring committal proceedings, Haddon-Cave LJ made no assertion on those submissions but said claimants who discontinue cases when the ‘the game is up’ should face consequences.

‘The stratagem of early discontinuance should not be seen to be used by unscrupulous claimants or lawyers as an inviolable means of protecting themselves from the consequences of their dishonest conduct,’ said the judge. ‘It is clear that the modus operandi of some of those involved in fraudulent insurance claims has been to issue tranches of deliberately low-value claims (sometimes on an industrial scale) for e.g. whiplash, slips and trips etc and when confronted with resistance or evidence of falsity, simply then to drop those particular claims, in anticipation that it would probably not be worth the candle for insurers to pursue the matter further.’


If you require any further detail or advice, please contact John Reid in O’Rourke Reid
Dial: +353 1 240 1200

This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2018