Legal Update
15 May 2020

Bunting v Zurich Insurance PLC, High Court, 13th May 2020

High Court appellate decision: Pepperall J, 13th May 2020

Defendant’s counsel - Steven Turner (Parklane Plowden Chambers) instructed by Jade Batstone of DAC Beachcroft, Newport

Status: As a High Court appellate decision, this decision will be binding upon County Courts.

Summary: On 13th May 2020 Pepperall J dismissed an appeal against a County Court Judge’s decision to award a low (Thrifty) BHR rate instead of the claimed Helphire (now Auxillis) credit hire rate. The Claimant argued that the trial Judge should have disregarded the Defendant’s BHR evidence because the Thrifty rate was subject to a 30 day maximum hire limit, there was no evidence as to deposits payable, no specific evidence of availability, no evidence as to how the Defendant’s rates data had been harvested from the internet and because it had a limit of 500 miles per week.

Pepperall J dismissed the appeal in scathing terms, calling it a ‘nit-picking challenge’. He said the Claimant came nowhere near demonstrating that the trial Judge had acted perversely. Pepperall J endorsed the trial Judge’s ‘sanguine’ approach to the BHR rates issue and found that the Judge had been ‘absolutely entitled’ to rely upon the Defendant’s BHR evidence. He specifically found that deposits were not relevant in the case of a pecunious Claimant and that there was no requirement for a Defendant to demonstrate availability of a particular vehicle on a particular date.

The Claimant was also ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs of the appeal as claimed, without any deduction.

Read counsel's note of the Appeal decision  Bunting-counsels-note-of-appeal-decision