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By Peter Oakes

Apr 4th, 2019

Successful private prosecution of a fraudulent trip/slip claimant.

No doubt all businesses and organisations, in particular local authorities, with responsibility for property accessible by the public, will have read with interest recent articles about a successful private prosecution of a fraudulent trip/slip claimant.

Private prosecutions are a much under used weapon in the armoury of landowners faced with fraudulent claims. When the evidence of fraud is strong enough to overcome the criminal burden of proof then it is open to any private individual, local authority or business to lay charges against a fraudster to seeking a criminal conviction. Once charges are laid the CPS has the option but will rarely exercise the right to take over the prosecution. Given the green light the private prosecution can proceed, with the landowner/local authority in the shoes of the CPS. All reasonable costs of private prosecution can be recovered from the crown purse.

Local authorities, supermarkets and land owners, either directly or through their insurers, are reporting rising numbers of trip /slip claims. The concern is that increased claim numbers are also matched by a proportionate increase in fraudulent claims. Historically, getting police interest in insurance fraud investigation was a thankless task, with the chances of criminal prosecution, even for the most blatant fraud, remote. The insurance fraud enforcement department attached to the City of London Police provides ABI members with a mechanism to pursue police and criminal investigation when fraud is suspected. However IFED resources are finite and non ABI members cannot ask IFED to investigate.

Langleys fraud unit would be pleased to advise further should this be of interest.

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