The speedy decision in Aziz v Ali & Others towards the end of 2014 was a reassuring one for insurance companies that have to deal with thousands of fraudulent personal injury claims every year.
The contempt of court hearing brought by the victim insurance company consolidated several separate claims arising from separate incidents. In each instance, a ghost accident was created to claim for compensation for injuries sustained in the apparent accident.
Background to Aziz v Ali & Others 
Aziz, a private hire driver as well as a taxi driver Jamil claimed for two separate accidents in Leeds, both in April 2009, alleging that another vehicle had driven into the side of their vehicles at a junction. Shaleem and Kazmi were allegedly passengers of Jamil in the taxi accident. The insurer became suspicious about the claims when it was found that the same bank details had been used at the inception of each of the policies for five different people.
Further, the call had come from the same telephone number and the addresses provided turned out to be phoney on physical verification. Evidence provided by experts and inconsistent, cheageable statements by the claimants left the court in no doubt that the accident being described had not taken place.
All claims were dismissed following a five-day trial after the claimants admitted to making false statements which allowed the insurer to bring proceedings for a total of twenty-five allegations of contempt of court. This resulted in prison sentences aggregating to 22 months.
Justice Lewis stated that such acts ‘undermine public confidence in the justice system’ and strike‘at the heart of the fair administration of justice’, all while using considerable public and court resources and time. The decision comes as positive news for insurance companies, as not only has the company been saved from shelling out fraudulently claimed money to those who are not entitled to it, but also, the judgement serves as a deterrent for future offenders.
This case should act as a deterrent to fraudulent claimants and save insurance companies substantial amount of time and money as they have also had to devote considerable resources to investigating fraudulent claims and subsequently fighting them in court in recent years.
The costs arising out of dishonest claims are significant. Those costs are, ultimately, passed on to honest drivers through increased insurance premiums. Further, those who make honest genuine claims will, also, inevitably have their claims scrutinised to ensure that they are genuine and to distinguish their claims from the fraudulent claims. This is a much welcome decision reinforcing the consequences of illegal ‘easy-money’ schemes motivated by greed.