23 SEP 2015
Beverley Cousins v Luke Julius and The Motor Insurers’ Bureau  EWHC 1682 (QB)
Interim payment – Eeles Pts 1 & 2
High Court, Queen’s Bench Division: Curran J
15 June 2015
The application concerned whether the second defendant should make a further interim payment of £800,000 to fund the purchase of a property. Previous interim payments totalled £310,000. The court considered whether the claimant had immediate need of the funds and whether in the circumstances it was appropriate for Eeles Stage 2 to apply. The court concluded application of Eeles Stage 2 would not restrict the trial judge making an interim award of £700,000.
Eeles Stage 1 asks the court to consider the likely heads of claim which will be ordered as a lump sum; Stage 2 allows the court to consider if the trial judge is likely to capitalize additional elements of the future loss and if the claimant has a ‘real need’ for the interim payment the judge can include these future losses when considering making an interim payment.
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The claimant was at the time of the hearing renting a property, her notice period was 2 months and the landlord had indicated he was thinking of redeveloping the property. This caused the claimant much anxiety as it had previously taken her more than 2 months to find alternative accommodation. In addition the property suffered with damp.
In response, the second defendant tried to raise the level playing field argument indicating that it would fetter the trial judge’s discretion. The court disagreed as it was clear on the facts that £450,000 was a reasonable estimate for the purchase of a property. The second defendant also tried to assert that there was no real evidence that re-development of the property was to occur and secondly, if damp was an issue the claimant would have already moved.
In considering Eeles Stage 1 the court thought that the second defendant had submitted very little evidence to displace the claimant’s figures allowing a figure of £641,152 having made small reductions for adaptations and vehicle purchase. Having regard to Eeles Stage 1 the court concluded there was a real risk that before trial the claimant would have received enough to fund the purchase of the house, adapt it and include all relocation expenses. A modest award under Eeles Stage 2 was considered appropriate.
The court was confident that a judge at trial would capitalize more than the £641,152 calculated under Eeles Stage and that the claimants living conditions at her current property was unsatisfactory. Therefore there was a real need for ready access to funds. A modest award of £60,000 was awarded under Eeles 2 and with rounding down the claimant was awarded £700,000.
When considering applications for interim payments to fund the purchase of an accommodation, the courts usually look at all the circumstances of the case, including the real needs of claimants.
Sandra de Souza & Amy Wedgwood, Anthony Gold Solicitors