If you want the Law to help you, tell the truth
This may sound obvious, but you may be surprised at how many people try to be ‘economical with the truth’, and expect to get away with it. We have seen this recently in 2 areas of law, divorce and injury claims.
In October 2015 the Supreme Court overruled lower courts, and said that Mrs Sharland and Mrs Gohil can apply for more money from their ex-husbands, because the financial agreements made when they were divorced were based on wrong information. The men had hidden part of their wealth, so their wives and their lawyers, as well as the Courts, were working on the wrong figures when they calculated what the women were entitled to. Mr Sharland said he was bitterly disappointed at this result, and it would open the floodgates to reopening divorce cases. Well maybe, but he can hardly be surprised that Courts think it important to do justice – that’s what they are supposed to be there for.
This principle also applies in accident claims, but because of the Government’s bias towards insurance companies, we say they have gone too far, and justice may not be done. Basically, if you have been injured and you can prove it was the legal fault of someone else, you should be entitled to compensation from them. This law has been around for centuries. The compensation is largely worked out so that you are put back in the same position as you would have been in if you had not been injured. However, under a law introduced in 2015, if you are found to have exaggerated the effects of the accident in any way at all, the Court can if it thinks fit decide you have been ‘fundamentally dishonest’, award you nothing, and order you to pay the other party’s costs. In other words, if you exaggerate in a small part of your claim, that can affect the whole claim, including other aspects in which you have been completely truthful. We are waiting to see how the Courts interpret this particularly bad law. We hope they will try to do justice as they did for Mrs Sharland and Mrs Gohil. In the meantime it is important to be particularly careful to tell the exact truth.