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Published 15 May 2020
On 13th May 2020, DAC Beachcroft together with Steven Turner of Parklane Plowden, successfully defended an appeal held in the High Court on the matter of Bunting v Zurich Insurance Plc .
The Claim arose out of a road traffic accident in June 2015. As a result of the accident, the Claimant hired a replacement vehicle from Helphire (now Auxillis) totalling charges at £28,551.84, at a daily rate of £338.76.
The Claim proceeded to trial on 1st November 2018 before Recorder Le Poidevin (QC) where the rate of hire was the main issue in dispute.
The Claimant had not obtained their own basic hire rate evidence, but instead summonsed the author of the Defendant’s report to Trial and sought permission to call him as a witness for the Claimant.
Accepting the evidence of the basic hire rate author the Recorder awarded the lowest rate in the report (a 7 day rate from Thrifty) with a ‘rough and ready adjustment’ of an uplift of £10 per week to reflect the issues raised by the Claimant that there was no detail as to deposit payable, the mileage was limited to 500 miles per week and there was a 30 day maximum hire limit.
The Recorder therefore awarded the Claimant £3,989.14 for the hire.
The appeal was heard at the High Court Centre in Birmingham, however due to Covid-19, it was heard via video link before Pepperall J.
The Claimant’s lengthy grounds of appeal (more details can be found at para.17 of Steven Turners full note of the Appeal) argued that the Recorder should have disregarded the Defendant’s basic hire rate evidence on the basis of admissibility, that the Recorder shouldn’t have awarded the Thrifty rate and that they had been wrong to use the 1/7 of the 7 day rate for the 78th day of hire.
Pepperall J dismissed the Claimants Appeal, confirming he found the Claimants arguments to be a ‘nit-picking challenge’ that came nowhere near the threshold for demonstrating that the Recorder’s decision had been perverse.
Peperall J confirmed:
In considering the £10 uplift made to the Thrifty weekly rate, Pepperall J stated:
Ultimately the Court held that the Recorder’s ‘rough and ready’ additional allowance is precisely the sort of thing that is open to a first instance Judge.
This judgment both re-confirms & adds to the case law we already have in this area;
Our vehicle hire and damage team deal with cases like this on a regular basis. For more information or advice, please contact one of our experts.
Transcripts will be published once available from the Court
For further information please contact;
+44 (0)163 365 7891
+44 (0) 1633 657 620
+44 (0) 1633 657 798
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