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PI and Civil Litigation

Law - practice - procedure

09 JUN 2015

Grainger v Cooper [2015] EWHC 1132 (QB)

Grainger v Cooper [2015] EWHC 1132 (QB)
Interim payment - Eeles test - purchase of property

High Court, Queen's Bench Division

23 April 2015

Robinson J

Summary
 In a personal injury case where liability was not in dispute the claimant sought a further interim payment of damages in order to purchase and adapt accommodation for her own needs. The court ordered an interim application of substantially less than the claimant had asked for.

Detail
  

 The claimant had suffered very serious injuries following a motorcycle accident.. It was common ground that the claim would be substantial. Previous interim payments had totaled £970,000. By application the claimant sought an interim payment of £425,000 to fund the purchase and adaptation of a property.

 The court considered CPR, rr 25.6 and 25.7 the guidance given in Cobham Hire Services Ltd v Benjamin Eeles. The Eeles guidance comprises two stages. Stage 1 required the court to consider the final amount of the judgment leaving out future heads of loss and what a reasonable proportion of that would be. The court noted that reasonable does not mean low and could be 90%.

  
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The court concluded a further interim payment of this size would lead to interim payments exceeding a reasonable proportion of general damages and past loss and so was required to move on to stage 2, in which future heads of loss could be considered but the question was whether there is a real need for the interim payment and whether it could be confidently predicted that the trial judge will wish to award a larger capital sum.

The court was not satisfied that was an immediate necessity for the claimant to purchase another property before trial, despite the claimant’s wishes to commence living independently of her parents and in her own property. The judge was also not confident whether all the future heads of loss could be made out.

Consequently the court performed a calculation under stage 1 of Eeles and ordered that a further payment of £133,000 could be made. This was based on 90% of a conservative estimate of damages to be awarded.

In addition the court considered the ‘level playing field’ argument advanced by the defendant. The court concluded that the trial judge would not be fettered in its discretion to award damages as there was no scope to argue that if the claimant used the money to purchase a property she was doing it in ignorance of any dispute on the issue.

Joseph Carr & Amy Wedgwood, Anthony Gold