Bennett v Stephens: Periodical Payments and the MIB
In January 2012 the long-running saga of Anthony Bennett’s claim came to an end. After many twists and turns Anthony can now enjoy the security shared by so many other claimants of knowing that his care and case management needs will be met by periodical payments.
A passenger in a vehicle involved in a road traffic accident, his multi-million pound claim was settled on a conventional basis in early 2010. The problem was that the relevant Insurer was not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and there was an issue whether the continuity of the proposed PPs would be reasonably secure within the meaning of s.2 of the Damages Act 1996.
The Defendant argued that the financial stability of the Insurer and Re-Insurers should satisfy the Court, but after a hearing in July 2010 Mackay J agreed with the Claimant that it was only long-stop cover from the Motor Insurer’s Bureau that permitted him to be satisfied about security. The order made was the first of its kind and the MIB, who had declined to attend the hearing, were given the opportunity to make submissions on its terms.
They did so and after prolonged procedural delays Tugendhat J, whilst offering an interpretation of the ‘Mackay’ order which supported the MIB’s submission that the order it could impose no direct obligation on them, upheld its terms.
A late hiccough, when the Defendants/Insurers sought to withhold their consent to the PP order, was overcome at the final hearing when Tugendhat J held that the agreement made pursuant to the Defendants’ consent (given in July 2010) was subject to an implied term that if no material amendment to the ‘Mackay’ PP order was made pursuant to the MIB’s intervention the PP order would bind the parties and define the obligations of the Defendants to pay PPs.