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What is fundamental dishonesty and how could it affect my claim?

Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 states that if a court finds that the claimant is entitled to damages, but is satisfied that the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest, the court has a duty to dismiss the claim – unless it is satisfied that the claimant would suffer substantial injustice. Importantly, this duty even includes the dismissal of parts of the claim where the claimant has not been dishonest.

In the recent case of London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games -v- Haydn Sinfield, the claimant, whilst volunteering at the Olympic Games, fractured his arm and subsequently brought a claim. This included a claim for gardening expenses on the basis that the claimant had never paid for the services of a gardener before. The gardening claim accounted for just under 30% of the entire claim. The defendant did some background investigation and uncovered that the claimant had employed a gardener before the accident, his hours had not changed because of the accident and the claimant had forged invoices to support his dishonest claim. The claimant filed a statement before trial accepting that parts of his original statement had been wrong as he had worded it badly and admitted he had created the invoices himself.

At trial, the judge found that the claimant was muddled, confused and careless and that he was dishonest, but not fundamentally so. Alternatively, that such dishonesty as there was related to a peripheral part of the claim and it would therefore be substantially unjust to dismiss the whole claim.

On appeal, the court overturned the trial judge’s decision and found that the claimant was fundamentally dishonest and it was wrong for the trial judge to find that he had merely been muddled and careless, particularly as the dishonesty was premeditated and maintained until uncovered by the defendants. The court also disagreed with the trial judge’s view that the claimant made out a substantial injustice. Further, the claim for gardening loss was not peripheral.

The case shows the absolute necessity to only advise your solicitor of genuine losses, otherwise this could risk the entire claim if the defendant applies to the court for a finding of fundamental dishonesty.

If you have had a trip & slip accident that was not your fault, and would like to discuss your personal injury claim on a no-obligation consultation then please get in touch with me. I will be happy to discuss all aspects of your personal injury claim to decide the best way to proceed.

I am a London-based solicitor at Goodge Law and an expert in securing compensation for people who have been injured in accidents that were not their fault. I work on a no win-no fee basis so you will never have to fund any part of your personal injury claim.