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Law Firm Condemned Without a Fair Hearing

It is a basic principle of law that no one should be condemned without a fair hearing. In one case which illustrated the point, the High Court has ruled that a law firm was wrongly castigated by a judge as being ‘elbows deep in fraud’ without being given any opportunity to defend its reputation.

The firm represented a client in a compensation claim in respect of injuries alleged to have been suffered in a road traffic accident. In dismissing the claim, the judge found that the accident was staged and entirely fraudulent. He went on to find the firm guilty of ‘actual dishonesty’ in connection with the claim.

In upholding the firm’s judicial review challenge, the Court noted that it had not been a party to the proceedings and had been given no warning that any adverse findings might be made against it. The judge should not have made unqualified findings of dishonesty against the firm and its integrity had been unfairly impugned.