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Paul Higgins successful in Committal Proceedings.

On 17 November 2023, in QBE UK Ltd v Mark Raymond Hilton (KB-2023-000137), Mr Justice Constable sentenced the claimant to an immediate term of 10 months’ imprisonment. The judge below had described the claimant’s activity as the second most egregious example of a contempt of court that he had come across. The claim was pleaded in excess of £600,000 on the footing that the claimant had sustained very significant physical injuries. But surveillance footage showed him working on a car, walking long distances and seemingly living an ordinary life with no observable disability.

A seriously aggravating feature of the case was the deployment of a false birth certificate. This was introduced by Mr Hilton in an attempt to distance himself from records in his medical notes that conflicted with his version of events. He paid someone to create this, and then passed it off as genuine, even though it contained a false date of birth.

The judgment is important because it demonstrates that the High Court continues to follow the line of authority flowing from South Wales, Fire and Rescue v Smith [2011] EWHC 1749 (Admin) and that in serious cases of contempt relatively long and immediate terms of imprisonment can be expected. A link to the judgement can be found at: QBE UK Ltd v Mark Raymond Hilton (KB-2023-000137)

Paul Higgins was instructed by Gary Petterson (Keoghs), acting on behalf of QBE.

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