Since the case of The Winkfield in 1902, it has been unusual to encounter arguments against a Claimants right to recover their diminution in value of a vehicle just because they have taken out a finance agreement to obtain the vehicle. But despite settled law lasting 117 years, Defendants still believe that this argument has relevance.
Clifford James acted for a private individual who had taken out finance to purchase a vehicle. The Defendant sought to enquire and argue that unless the Claimant was liable to the finance company, then no diminution loss could be suffered.
In defeating this line of argument at trial, Clifford James have reaffirmed the long-standing principle of The Winkfield in which Collins M.R. ruled:
“As between bailee and stranger possession gives title – that is, not a limited interest, but absolute and complete ownership, and he is entitled to receive back a complete equivalent for the whole loss or deterioration of the thing itself.”
If you possess a motor vehicle that has sustained a diminution loss, as the possessor of that vehicle you can make your claim, and arguments relating to the finance agreement are irrelevant.