Now-defunct law firm Asons, a medical expert and the former boss of a medical agency brought a claim in the name of a man who had no knowledge of it, a judge has ruled.
His Honour Judge Luba ordered them to pay wasted costs of £30,000 to insurer First Central, according to a report of his ruling by its solicitors, Manchester-based HF.
It is not the first time such a finding has been made against Asons, which in 2017 was – along with the director of a claims management company, Haroon Karim – ordered to pay £40,000 in costs to insurer LV= over a bogus whiplash claim.
Mr Karim was later jailed for this, with the judge finding he had deceived Asons, which was based in Bolton.
As described by HF, the latest case bore a striking similarity. It was a road traffic accident claim that included a medical report prepared by Dr Michaela Coman, an expert instructed by Asons via TMT Medicals – of which Mr Karim was a director.
The supposed claimant did not engage with the litigation and, as a result, HF secured a costs order against him of around £8,000.
When he was chased for payment, the solicitors established that not only had he no knowledge of the claim but also he had not even been involved in an accident.
HF then pursued Asons, Dr Coman and Mr Karim for wasted costs. HHJ Luba described the case as “truly extraordinary” and pointed out that this was not an isolated occurrence.
HF partner Alex Wilkinson said: “Insurers and the public must have trust in those representing claimants. Asons Solicitors have been shown time and again to have singularly failed in establishing that trust.
“Haroon Karim, too, is someone who I have tackled before in respect of his dishonest conduct. Their actions, and the actions of Dr Coman in not carrying out her duties to the required standard, cast a stain over the whole industry.”
Paul Priestly, First Central’s counter fraud director, added: “We vigorously investigate potential dishonesty and it is a disappointing facet of the current claims industry that those investigations too often end up with dishonesty being found on the part of a claimant’s representatives.
“I am pleased we have been able to send out a message to the industry that standards must be better and demonstrated our willingness to take action against enablers when appropriate.”
Earlier this year, Mr Karim was convicted again of failing to preserve company accounting records.
Asons was placed into liquidation in 2017, having been sold the day before to Coops Law, which was run by Irfan Akram, the brother of Asons’ principal and sole shareholder Kamran Akram. Soon after, Coops was closed down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.