High Court Provides Guidance on Fundamental Dishonesty Test

The judgment of Mr Justice Knowles in LOCAOG v, Haydn Sinfield [2018] EWHC 51 (QB) provides the most authoritative guidance to date in respect of the test for “Fundamental Dishonesty”.

The Respondent/Claimant had been injured as a volunteer worker at the 2012 Olympic Games. His claim included the costs of employing a gardener, which he asserted was only necessary as a result of the injuries. During the trial, it became clear that the Claimant had employed a gardener before he was injured and the invoices for the gardening expenses had been created by him. The Appellant/Defendant argued at trial that the claim should be dismissed in accordance with s.57 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, which requires the Court to dismiss a claim, unless it would cause substantial injustice, where a Claimant has been found to be fundamentally dishonest on the balance of probabilities in relation to the primary claim or a related claim.


The trial judge, Mr Recorder Widdup, took the view that the dishonesty was clearly fundamental to the claim for gardening expenses, but not fundamental to the claim as a whole – the entire claim was not contaminated. Mr Recorder Widdup’s finding in this regard appeared to be in accordance with other County Court decisions, such as Meadows v La Tasca Restaurants (unreported), holding that fundamental dishonesty had to go to the “root of the claim”.


Mr Justice Knowles allowed the appeal, holding that the Defendant had been fundamentally dishonest pursuing the gardening expenses and in his view that:


If the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest in the way I have indicated then the fact that the greater part of the claim might be honest is neither here nor there (subject to substantial injustice): by enacting s 57(3) Parliament provided that the entire claim, including any genuine parts, are to be dismissed”.


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