Louisa Denning recently addressed delegates at the Association of British Insurers’ Conference on the subject of “Prosecuting Fraudsters: Contempt and Committal”.

The need to crack down on false claims is not a new initiative. In 2011 in South Wales Fire and Rescue Service v South [2011] EWHC Lord Justice Moses made clear that the severe condemnation of false claims was imperative to our system of adversarial justice and that sentences of imprisonment were “almost inevitable” where individuals were found to have made false claims.

“Those who make false claims if caught should expect to go to prison. There is no other way to underline the gravity of the conduct. There is no other way to deter those who may be tempted to make such claims, and there is no other way to improve the administration of justice.”

Given the increase in findings of fraud and dishonesty in recent years, why aren’t our prisons overflowing with dishonest claimants?

Part of the problem is the lack of a natural flow between the conclusion of a civil trial and the proceedings necessary to commit a dishonest claimant to prison. When a claim is dismissed and a court makes findings of fraud or fundamental dishonesty there is no automatic process that comes into play. The onus is on the Defendant to decide what, if any, steps to take next.

In her address, Louisa explored the options open to the Defendant following “success” at trial and considered the relative merits of proceedings for contempt of court and the potential (albeit relatively untested) alternative of a private prosecution.”

Louisa’s practice encompasses a substantial volume of fraudulent insurance litigation.  She is a panel barrister for several major insurers and is regularly instructed by specialist Defendant firms of solicitors. View her profile here: https://www.no5.com/barrister/louisa-denning/