Successful Supreme Court Appeal


Anexo (AIM: ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, is pleased to announce a victory in the Supreme Court which sets an important precedent concerning the recovery of contractual liabilities, remoteness and the burden of proof.


The case (Armstead v RSA) directly concerned whether the victim of a non-fault traffic accident is able to recover from the negligent driver's insurance company any contractual liability which the victim owes the hire company; in this case the hire charges which were forfeited by the hire company while the vehicle was being repaired. On a broader scale, the ruling covers any situation where a claimant seeks to recover contractual liability to a third party.


In the original hearing and in two subsequent appeals, the Courts had found that such liabilities were not recoverable. The Supreme Court held that each of these Courts was wrong in their reasoning and conclusion.


The ruling establishes the principle that a claimant can recover any liabilities incurred as a result of an accident which may be owed to a third party. In order to be reasonable, the liability needs to be reasonably foreseeable; in this instance, a pre-estimate of the loss to the hire company.


In a judgment which will have wider implications, the Supreme Court held that the burden of proof in such cases falls on the defendant. In common with other defences which seek to reduce a claimant's recoverable losses (e.g. intervening cause, failure to mitigate, contributory negligence or scope of duty), it is now confirmed that it is for the defendant to prove that any loss is too remote to be recoverable.


Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman of Anexo Group, commented: "We are very pleased to announce this Supreme Court decision. It establishes that our clients, as claimants, can recover other liabilities to third parties which are caused by the at fault defendant; and further rules that the burden of proof lies with the defendant. The success of this appeal to the highest Court in the land marks a major milestone in the history of credit hire litigation and the ruling will reinforce our ability to represent the interests of our clients in all aspects of their claims."

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