pnBlawg

the professional negligence blog

A collaboration between Rebmark Legal Solutions and 1 Chancery Lane

Friends become Enemies aka The Dangers of Free Advice

  We were often warned against giving legal advice to our friends.  As professionals, if we give advice of a professional nature, there is (surprisingly to me) a distinct possibility that it will be relied upon.  This accords with the well-established Hedley Byrne doctrine of liability for the assumption of responsibility.  When giving advice, this liability can arise even if w... [More]

Property fraud - liability of seller's solicitor to innocent buyer

Purrunsing v A’Court & Co and House Owners Conveyancers [2016] EWHC 789 (Ch) is the latest case concerning conveyancing solicitors’ liabilities towards innocent victims of property fraud. It considers the question of the purported seller’s potential liability to an innocent purchaser and how the nature and extent of the test for relief under Section 61 of the Trustee Act 1925... [More]

All's Well That End's Well?

    The Court of Appeal recently handed down judgment in Bacciottini and another v Gotelee and Goldsmith (a firm) [2016] EWCA Civ 170. Bacciottini turned out to be one of those cases that was far more simple than it first appeared (and in the end became all about the costs of the litigation which, as usual had taken on a life of its own). Davis LJ’s judgment goes ‘back to ba... [More]

Crystal ball gazing: how does a judge assess loss of chance?

You can prove that a past event has happened but you cannot prove that a future event will happen. When the actions of a third party are relevant all that can be done is to evaluate the chance of that event happening. So when a claimant has proved as a matter of causation a real or substantial chance rather than a speculative chance of an event or events happening how does a court evaluate that lo... [More]

Liability of third party funders / coverage re. costs in PL policies

The Court of Appeal handed down a judgment in the case of Legg & Ors v. Aviva [2016] EWCA Civ 97 yesterday. The case concerned the scope and application of the rule relating to a party’s ability to secure an adverse costs order against a third party who funded the unsuccessful claim by a claimant /defence of a defendant.  Additionally it concerned the proper approach to the interpre... [More]

Aspect Contracts – Adjudication Assessed…

Aspect Contracts – Adjudication Assessed…       The Supreme Court finally had an opportunity to consider the adjudication regime in the case of Aspect Contracts (Asbestos) Limited v Higgins Construction Plc [2015] 1 WLR 2961.   Although this case is from as long ago as 2015, I had to cite it in Court last week and remembered that it was one that I should have inclu... [More]

Caught out by the court fee: a forewarning on issuing claims protectively

Facts The case of Richard Lewis & Others v Ward Hadaway [2015] EWHC 3503 (Ch) concerned 31 professional negligence claims brought against a firm of solicitors relating to conveyancing transactions. In the pre-action correspondence, the individual claims were each valued in the hundreds of thousands with a collective worth of £9 million. However, when the Claimants’ solicitors f... [More]

Professionals, allegations of fraud, and witness credibility

The headline outcome from Mansion Estates Ltd v Hayre & Co (A Firm) (2016) is HHJ Saffmann considering that it is no less “inherently improbable” that a solicitor would set out to mislead the court than any other person, and going on to find that the Defendant’s documents were “materially compromised”. This was not a case where the judge could find one party had &... [More]

Is an extension to the SAAMCO principle on the horizon?

Background Property valuation is seldom an exact science; it involves the consideration of both present factors and future contingencies.  With the property crashes of the last two decades came a wealth of litigation considering both the scope of the duty of care owed by valuers to lenders and the extent to which losses caused by negligent valuations are recoverable. One such case which t... [More]

No dual test for remoteness, says the Court of Appeal

The test for remoteness in tort is damage that is reasonably foreseeable. However the test for remoteness in contract is damage that ought to be in the reasonable contemplation of the parties. There are differences between the two. Damage can be reasonably foreseeable (in which case it satisfies the remoteness test in tort) but also highly unusual or unlikely, such as a particularly lucrative cont... [More]