Can you pay your litigation bills? You might be required to show proof...

In a group action for damages for defects in breast implants, the claimants were concerned about the financial position of the lead defendant (Transform). They wanted to see Transform’s liability insurance to find out if it could finance its way through the litigation and, ultimately, pay damages and costs. To obtain this information, they applied to the court for further information and clarification using CPR 18 and CPR 3.1 (2) (m).

On the evidence, the judge found that Transform might not be able to fund the litigation — or pay damages or costs. Were Transform to become insolvent during the proceedings, the court would have to make substantial adjustments to the running of the group action, including the establishment of new sample cases, a review of the case management directions and, possibly, a new trial date. By not providing the insurance details, Transform was therefore risking wasted costs and court time at the public’s expense.

The key issue was whether the court could use CPR 18 or CPR 3.1(2)(m) to order disclosure of the insurance details…

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