In a phone hacking case 2 Claimants decided to settle their phone hacking claims in terms which were related to the claims in the proceedings and not as widely drawn as one often sees in settlement wording which extends to "claims whether now or in the future, known or unknown and whether known to one party but not the other and whether or not the party knows that the other party does not know of the claim.." One could go on and sometimes parties do!
The interesting thing about this case is that relying on the great store by which the courts set by finality in disputes and settling claims and construing the settlement by reference to the written claims made in the action and the reality of the position parties were held to have settled claims they did not know about.
However, Mr Brazier asserted there was other hacking which he did not know about but expected to find out about in the proceedings. The claims were known unknowns and as a wise man not was only did he decide that he did not know but that he should settle.
The Ali reference in the words quoted is a reference to a famous case involving BCCI where a month's money was taken to settle widely drawn claims but the wording did not cover a claim for stigma damages because at the time of the settlement that type of claim was not known to the law so the settlement as drawn could not cover that claim.
As to unknown knowns if the unknown claim is known to the Defendant ,he knows that the Claimant does not know about the claim and he conceals it then that claim is unlikely to be compromised. This case was different because Mr Brazier had specifically alleged there were other claims he did not know about and that they had been concealed from him. Accordingly, it was not inequitable to hold Mr Brazier to the settlement because when he entered into it he believed there were other concealed claims which he did not know of.
...when Mr Brazier settled his case he settled a case in which he did not know the full extent of his claim, but unlike the claimant in Ali he was aware of his ignorance. In other words, he knew in general terms what it was that he did not know in detail. It was a "known unknown". What is more, he knew that a stage was coming shortly when he might become better informed, because disclosure was to take place within the foreseeable future ... He could have declined it and pressed on and become better informed about his claim. Alternatively, he could take a view ....and decide whether the offer adequately reflected that assessment and the risks involved in the litigation exercise. He decided to do the latter.