Addressing Impecuniosity: Holt v Allianz Insurance Plc [2023] EWHC 790 (KB)

The High Court has ruled this month in an appeal that where a Claimant is claiming for credit hire following a road traffic accident (“RTA”), they should have to disclose basic financial information upon a reasonable request from the Defendant.

This case concerned an RTA which occurred on 16 July 2020 where liability was admitted by the Defendant, with their insured driver being responsible for the accident. On 4 September 2020, Auxilis, on behalf of the Appellant (Claimant), presented the Respondent (Defendant’s insurer) with a demand for payment of £10,387.50 (£8,656.25 + VAT) in respect of credit hire charges.

The Respondent requested confirmation as to whether the case concerned impecuniosity and, if so, also requested disclosure of documentation for impecuniosity. Auxilis refused to provide this at the pre-action stage, which led to the Respondent making an application for Pre-Action Disclosure of:

1. The Appellant’s bank, credit card and savings account statements covering the period of hire and preceding three months; and,
2. Wage slips or other proof of income for the same period.

The application was heard on 18 October 2021 and handed down on 3 December 2021 by HHJ Harrison. The application was granted and subsequently appealed. HHJ Harrison refused permission to appeal and Steyn J refused on the papers. After an oral renewal of the application for permission to appeal, Bourne J granted permission and Mr Justice Andrew Baker considered the appeal.

The appeal was allowed on a “technicality” according to Mr Justice Andrew Baker on a finding that HHJ Harrison’s approach “that requirement of a pre-action disclosure order, being part of s.52(2) of the County Courts Act 1984 and then also CPR 31.16(3)(b), was flawed.” However, there is an important consideration to take into account for future claims involving impecuniosity at paragraph 97 of Justice Andrew Baker’s judgment:

“I would have upheld and endorsed had Allianz been the right applicant… to make a disputed claim of impecuniosity in respect of which the documents sought by Allianz would be within the scope of standard disclosure, disclosure of those documents before any proceedings were brought was desirable in order to assist the dispute to be resolved without proceedings and to save costs, and it was just and proper in the exercise of the court’s discretion to order that they be so disclosed.”

This ruling means that financial disclosure should be provided following a reasonable request, and this can be ordered pre-action. This is important to consider in your future RTA cases.

Cookie Policy
This site uses cookies to improve the overall user experience. Cookie Policy