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Gemma Witherington

Call 2008

"She is a real fighter and an astute thinker".
(Legal 500)

Insurance Fraud

Gemma has extensive experience of cases involving allegations of fraud or exaggeration and often involving technical expert reconstruction evidence. She is ranked in Tier 1 of the Legal 500 for fraud work.

She is regularly involved in the management of high-value and document heavy claims, including those where fraud is alleged in road traffic claims, including staged accidents (including fraud rings), slam-on accidents, phantom passenger claims and low velocity impacts.

She was instructed in the leading case of Accident Exchange Ltd v Broom [2017] EWHC 1096 on behalf of the one of seven Defendants in a civil contempt of court action in the High Court arising out of the Accident Exchange litigation. This multi-party action required delicate cross-party co-operation and meticulous analysis of the evidence.

Her core specialisms include:

  • Exaggeration
  • Fraud
  • Findings of fundamental dishonesty claims
  • Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015
  • Abuse of process applications
  • Fraud rings
  • Late discontinuance in the face of allegations of fraud
  • Committal proceedings
  • Costs issues relating to fraudulent claims.

Recent cases:

  • Debar v DTZ Management Services (2021) Acting for the Defendant in this claim for damages following a staged accident at work. The Claimant alleged that he slipped over on a patch of water at the Defendant shopping centre and suffered life changing injuries and was unable to work again. Gemma drafted a robust Defence pleading fraud based on the covert surveillance evidence and Facebook material. The claim was withdrawn the day before trial.
  • Sarah Sentence v London Borough of Hillingdon (2021) representing the Claimant in this allegedly staged accident claim against her former employers. The Defendant alleged that the Claimant had contrived an accident because she was bitter about her treatment in general by her employer. Claim successful on liability and quantum trial listed in the spring of 2021.
  • Shona Simpson v Michael Payne (2021) represented the Claimant in the High Court to appeal of a finding of fundamental dishonesty.
  • Dutra v Aoi Nissay (2020) acted for the Defendant in this claim for damages following a staged road traffic accident. Gemma drafted a robust Defence pleading fraud based on the telematic data (black box) contained in the insured’s vehicle. Claim withdrawn based on the Defence.
  • Hassan v Tariq and Aoi Nissay (2020) acted for the Defendant insurer in this fraud ring of staged road traffic accidents where there is believed to be at least 15 other accidents in the same locality linking the same parties. Case ongoing.
  • Miss Groves and Mrs Groves v Red Sea Holidays (2019) instructed to represent the Defendant in this travel sickness claim where the Claimants (mother and daughter) had alleged that they had suffered severe food poisoning in Egypt whilst on holiday. Claim dismissed at trial.

Selected Cases

Insurance & Reinsurance

Gemma’s insurance practice frequently involves advice and litigation relating to policy coverage and the construction of policy wording. She also regularly advises on and drafts letters of declinature on behalf of insurers.

For example, she has advised in matters where cover has been declined under healthcare policies where policy holders develop terminal illness. She has also advised on claims brought by widows for payment from life insurance schemes.

She is experienced in issues related to ATE policies, insolvencies of insurers, and disputes between insurers on different years of account. She has also advised on cases involving more niche areas such as the effect of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, financial mis-selling, and the effect on insurance policies.

Her experience covers:

  • Actions for negative declaratory relief;
  • Fire and flood claims;
  • Claims arising under permanent health insurance policies where parties or estates have been refused coverage or settlements;
  • Represented insurers in motor policy disputes and employer’s liability cases;
  • Policy disputes arising out of alleged fraud and material non-disclosure;
  • Motor insurance disputes arising in relation to policy coverage and the MIB Agreement.

In 2021, Gemma has advised various insurers including Beazley and Davies Group in respect of a variety of policy claims. Many of the cases are highly confidential and the full details cannot be shared.

Example of recent work include:

  • CC v Northern Ireland Hospice (2021) instructed to represent the Defendant’s insurer and advise on the terms of a medical insurance policy and issues of non-disclosure and drafting a declinature letter.
  • Ms Wilson v My Aesthetics (2021) advising the insurer of a clinical aesthetics practice on the terms of a policy and the interplay of financial mis-selling on the policy.

Selected Cases

View full profile »

News


Qualifications


  • BA (Hons)
  • PgdDip
  • BVC: Very competent
  • Inner Temple Exhibition Award 2007-2008
  • Streuben Benefactor Award 2007- 2008

Memberships


  • The Honourable Society of Inner Temple
  • Personal Injury Bar Association
  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Recommendations


”A thorough and balanced barrister who maintains a calm presence and ensures all angles are thoroughly explored.”

“Her drafting style is clear and persuasive. She is very personable and easy to work with. She is excellent at responding quickly to enquiries. She has a good rapport with clients and is not afraid to take on difficult cases.”

“She has the knowledge and experience of breaking down complex legal and factual issues.”

“Her attention to detail is exceptional.”

“She is a rising star and a real fighter.”

“She is a real fighter and an astute thinker”.

“Very good at giving direct, sensible and pragmatic advice”.

“She is a very determined advocate and really fights her client’s corner”.


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