Woman embroiled in High Court fight over claims she won £1m National Lottery prize

29 March 2023, 13:09

Joan Parker-Grennan has sued Camelot
Joan Parker-Grennan has sued Camelot. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A woman has become embroiled in a High Court battle over whether she is entitled to a National Lottery prize of £10 or £1 million.

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Joan Parker-Grennan sued Camelot - the operator behind the National Lottery - saying it was "bound" to pay her a £1 million prize.

Camelot disputes her claim and says it is only liable to pay £10.

Mr Justice Jay, who is overseeing the latest stage of the dispute, was told by lawyers on Tuesday that Ms Parker-Grennan had played online after buying an Instant Win Game ticket on August 25 2015.

They said the premise of the game was that if a number in the "your numbers" section of the screen matched one in the winning numbers section, the two matching numbers would turn white, indicating that the player had won the prize "designated by those matching numbers".

Camelot says that "at the point" Ms Parker-Grennan bought her ticket, its computer system predetermined her prize to be £10.

But the judge was told that between August 25 and 26 2015 there had been a "technical issue" which could result in "different graphical animations" being displayed on some players' screens.

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Two numbers with a designated prize of £10 were highlighted on Ms Parker-Grennan's screen with a message saying: "Congratulations, you have won £10."

But the judge heard that two other matching numbers - with a designated prize of £1 million - also appeared as a result of the technical issue.

Ms Parker-Grennan says there should be summary judgment in her favour because Camelot cannot win at a trial.

Lawyers representing the operator say there is a "real prospect" of Camelot winning at a trial, and Ms Parker-Grennan's application should be dismissed.

Barrister Philip Hinks, leading Camelot's legal team, argued that the operator was only liable to pay the "outcome of the ticket as predetermined" by its computer system. He said that was £10 - not the £1 million.

He said there was a "substantial" factual dispute - concerning what outcome had been predetermined by the system - between Ms Parker-Grennan and Camelot, which a judge could not resolve summarily.

Barrister James Couser, representing Ms Parker-Grennan, said there was "no real prospect of the claim being successfully defended".

"The dispute between the parties is actually quite a narrow one," Mr Couser told the judge in a written argument.

"The defendant says that the terms mean that the claimant is bound by what it intended the outcome of the game to have been, despite the fact that was not what the game was programmed to do accorded with what the relevant contractual term said it could do."

He said that on the "true construction of the contract", Ms Parker-Grennan was "entitled to judgment".