the professional negligence blog

A collaboration between Rebmark Legal Solutions and 1 Chancery Lane

New Imposter Fraud Decision

How should the courts allocate the risk of – and the losses flowing from – frauds practised on innocent parties?  Lawyers are first exposed to these questions as students but there is currently a growing need to address them afresh in the professional liability context with the increased prominence of “imposter fraud” in property transactions.  Does it make a diff... [More]

Getting your hands on an undisclosed expert report

When the other side wants to change expert are you entitled to their original expert’s reports and other documentation containing the substance of the expert’s opinion? This was the question considered in the case Allen Tod Architecture v Capita Property and Infrastructure Ltd ([2016] EWHC 2171) - a professional negligence claim by an architect against a structural engineer in the TCC.... [More]


Robert Louis Stevenson said that “Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer”.  Nevertheless, we are often used in order to effect a compromise.  Sometimes, the attempt to settle per se becomes the source of litigation and so it was in last month’s case of DB UK Bank v Jacobs Solicitors (2016) EWHC 1614. The main proceedings entailed the Claimant Bank bringing a claim... [More]

When is a Claimant liable for pre-action costs?

Section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 confers discretion on the court in respect of “the costs of and incidental to all proceedings”. It has long been understood that the reference to costs “of and incidental” to proceedings covers pre-action costs. A recent decision illustrates how the jurisdiction to award pre-action costs works in practice and highlights the differenc... [More]

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]