Guy Vickers in “ongoing battle” at Court of Appeal

March 12, 2015

Guy Vickers from Exchange Chambers appeared once more in the latest round of what the Court of Appeal have often dubbed the “ongoing battle” between insurance companies and the car hire industry, Stevens v Equity Syndicate Management [2015] EWCA Civ 93.

Led by Christopher Butcher Q.C. of 7 Kings Bench Walk, Guy appeared on this second appeal on behalf of the Appellant in seeking to overturn the earlier decision of Burnett J as to the correct approach to be adopted by a Trial Judge when carrying out the exercise of identifying the Basic Hire Rate by stripping out additional benefits from a Credit Hire Rate to arrive at the recoverable rate.

Ultimately the Court of Appeal disapproved the subjective approach of Burnett J but decided, arguably contrary to earlier authority and certainly contrary to the approach adopted by many Judges in the County Court until now, that normally the lowest reasonable rate quoted by a mainstream supplier for the hire of a vehicle such as that hired by the claimant to a person such as the claimant in the claimant’s geographical area at the relevant time is a reasonable approximation to the Basic Hire Rate.

Although initially this decision appears to favour Defendant insurers, the longer term effects of this evidential approach are likely to be not exactly what the Court of Appeal might have intended and there seems every likelihood that the battle will continue. Guy Vickers continues to be at the forefront of this developing aspect of tort law.