Matthew Kerruish-Jones was recently instructed by a defendant insurer who had made a pre-action admission of liability in relation to three claims brought within the MOJ Portal. The limit of the original claims was £10,000 each (the maximum being £30,000). The Defendant insurer made a commercial decision not to contest the claims. The Claimants subsequently issued protectively for up to £50,000 with no fixed quantification of their claims. After 4 years from the date of accident the Claimants applied to increase the value of their claims to “in excess of £200,000”. The Defendant argued that this drastic increase prompted a re-appraisal of the claims and sought to resile from the admission that had been made when the values were extremely low and within the MOJ Portal.
Matthew persuaded the court that new evidence had come to light in numerous forms; a statement from the defendant, a police collision report and, crucially, the updated schedules of loss from the Claimants, pleading vastly greater sums. The Court also agreed that the balance of prejudice was greater to the Defendant if they were prevented from contesting liability in the circumstances. The Court followed the judgments of Woodland v Stopford; Blake v Croasdale; and Wood v Days Healthcare.
The admission was therefore set aside and the Defendant successfully recovered their costs from the Claimant.