Fundamental Dishonesty

Understanding Fundamental Dishonesty in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Claims


Fundamental dishonesty in personal injury and clinical negligence claims is a critical issue that has significant implications for both claimants and defendants.  Fundamental dishonesty is more than just minor inaccuracies or exaggerated claims, it involves a claimant intentionally providing false information or withholding material facts with the intent to deceive the court or defendant. However, since the introduction of the concept of fundamental dishonesty in 2015, the number of fundamental dishonesty allegations has risen rapidly.

The Law

Fundamental dishonesty is a concept that was introduced under Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 to deter fraudulent or exaggerated personal injury claims.  The defendant must prove the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest. Examples of fundamental dishonesty include an individual claiming that since the accident, they can no longer carry out a particular task when this is untrue.  Further, it can include fabricating symptoms or exaggerating the impact of an injury.

In some cases, defendants may undertake surveillance of the claimant to gather evidence of their dishonesty. Evidence may also be gathered from the claimant’s social media posts or eyewitness accounts.

Consequences of Fundamental Dishonesty

When a claimant is found to be fundamentally dishonest, the consequences are severe and can include:

  1. Claim dismissal: the entire claim can be dismissed, regardless of any genuine parts unless it would be unjust to do so.
  2. Cost penalties: if the court finds that the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest, they will likely not receive any compensation and will have to pay the defendant’s legal costs as well as their own legal costs.
  3. Criminal charges: in extreme cases, the claimant could face criminal charges.

Karen Preater v Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more defendant lawyers alleging fundamental dishonest without convincing evidence.  The Law Gazette recently reported on a case Karen Preater v Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board where the defendant argued that the video surveillance showed the claimant was far more able than she purported to be, and her social media activity showed she had a ‘thriving’ and ‘successful’ beauty therapy business which she had dishonestly kept from everyone during the case.  These allegations resulted in devastating consequences in the claimant’s claim. 

However, the allegations were vaguely particularised, the extracts from social media were selective and taken at face value only.  Overall, the defendant did not satisfy the requirement to present ‘cogent’ evidence of dishonesty to the court, let alone dishonesty which went to the core of the claim and the claimant went on to recover more than £970,000.

Protecting against Fundamental Dishonesty

At Pinney Talfourd, we advise our clients from the very outset of this potential line of argument of defendant’s seeking to undermine the credibility of the claimant and advise our clients that the best protection against fundamental dishonesty is honesty and full disclosure.


Fundamental dishonesty can have far reaching consequences for all parties involved and it is crucial, that both claimants and defendants, approach claims with honesty and diligence. The legal framework is designed to identify and penalise dishonesty, thus protecting the integrity of the judicial process.

How Pinney Talfourd can help

Pinney Talfourd’s team of experts specialise in Personal Injury and Medical Negligence claims. For more information on how we can assist you, please contact us on 01708 511 000.

This article was written by Emma Hardie, CILEX Lawyer in the Accidents and Personal Injury Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of June 2024



Emma Rayner

Emma Hardie

CILEX Lawyer

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