Blanket Diminution Defence – A Warning to Insurers

At Clifford James we see repeat blanket defences to diminution claims by the same insurance companies. However, after the finding in a recent court case, this practice is likely to stop and if it doesn’t those insurers face significant cost consequences for claims on the Small Claim Track.

Recently, a County Court not only found in favour of a Clifford James client at trial, but awarded unreasonable costs of in excess of £3,000.00 as a direct result of the Defendant and their insurers unreasonable behaviour. The Judge in the case said that the Defence, a blanket diminution defence, was “doomed to fail and hopeless”.

This was a significant award of unreasonable costs for a diminution claim valued at just £700.00 and it serves as a warning to those insurers who carry on ignoring the Court and settled law.

Operations Director, Emma Bell commented:

“This is not the first time in 2015 that the Court has awarded unreasonable costs to Clifford James for the unreasonable behaviour and blanket diminution defences. Insurers are choosing to ignore previous findings made by the Court dealing with our diminution cases. These costs awarded often far exceed the original amount claimed for the diminution and it is testament to our expertise and specialist knowledge in this highly complex and contentious area of law. Defendants need to consider carefully how they can continue to raise the same defences rather than discuss the valid claims we present sensibly. At Clifford James we are always open to discussions with defendant firms and insurance companies to forge a sensible approach to dealing with our clients valid diminution claims and we will continue to do so.”