A recent case illustrates the importance of making sure that all evidence which is relied upon in legal proceedings is put before the court and made available to the other side in good time for them to evaluate it and prepare their response.

The case dealt with an issue lawyers call ‘proximate cause‘ which is an important concept in the law relation to claims for damages. When there is more than one possible cause of damage, the court must decide which of these is the ‘proximate cause’.

When the less probable causes have been identified, the most probably cause is considered to be the proximate cause.mThis distinction becomes especially important when different risks are covered by policies issued by different insurers, as was the case here.

The case concerned pipes which were to be used in the construction of a waste disposal plant. These were discovered to have been damaged. They had been manufactured in Romania and shipped to the UK and different insurers covered each possibility.

The court found that it was more likely that the pipes had been damaged in transit as a result of inadequate packing and thus that was the proximate cause.

It refused to consider evidence introduced towards the end of the original trial, which lasted seven days, that purported to demonstrate the adequacy of the packing of the pipes when transported, making damage in transit unlikely.

This was brought before the court too late for proper consideration to be given to it by the other side.

The insurer that stood to bear the loss appealed to the Court of Appeal which gave the appeal little attention, LJ Moses went so far as to comment “I wish to underline the audacity, if not effrontery, with which the appellants have advanced this appeal’.

When conducting a legal dispute, it is important to collect and marshal your evidence promptly to ensure that your case can be argued as forcibly as possible. At Hubbard Pegman & Whitney we guide our clients throughout the progress of a case to ensure their case is presented to give the best chance of success


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