pnBlawg

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]

Valuation not negligent in light of earlier transaction: Titan Europe v Colliers

  The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court trial judge’s decision that a valuer was negligent on a large commercial valuation. The valuation related to commercial property in Germany and the valuation provided in December 2005 was €135 million.  The trial judge applied a bracket of 15% because of the unusual nature of the property and held that the true value at that ti... [More]

Standstill agreement covers deceit claims

The Court of Appeal has held that a standstill agreement in a lender claim against valuers was broad enough to cover claims for fraud despite being expressed to deal with claims in negligence and breach of contract.    At the time when the lender sent the Letter of Claim – relating to 46 valuations – no fraud was suspected.  It alleged negligence and breach of contr... [More]

Causation: the Defendant’s friend

“When a judge says ‘It ill behooves the Defendant to argue that his negligence did not cause the Claimant’s loss…’, you know he doesn’t understand how a causation defence works.”  So commented a colleague of mine in my early days of doing professional negligence cases.    In a recent solicitor’s negligence claim[1] the High Court... [More]

Architects’ Certificates: round 2

Time to get back into work mode after the summer slumber and look at a decision slipped out by the Court of Appeal right at the end of term on the last day of July.  A controversial decision of Akenhead J in the TCC last year has been overturned, to the relief of the defendant architects and their insurers.   The original decision had seen judgment in favour of the claimant purchasers ... [More]

No sudden outburst of honesty by under-compensated miner

The Court of Appeal has recently upheld a County Court Judge’s decision to award damages to a former miner who complained that he had been under-compensated in an industrial injury scheme.  One of the reasons given was that the Defendant’s explanation for the Claimant’s conduct was implausible in relying on a steady state of dishonesty interrupted by a brief “outburst ... [More]

The icing on the cake: proximity needed to establish a duty

  The Court of Appeal has just overturned a decision in which a surveyor was found jointly liable for personal injuries suffered by some members of the public who were struck by part of a shop sign which fell onto the pavement on Putney High Street. The Court has reversed the trial judge’s finding that the surveyor owed a duty of care to the injured claimants, stressing the need for p... [More]

Flagrant misconduct by trial Counsel

The outgoing Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, lobbed a live grenade into the lap of one barrister in a Court of Appeal judgment on Monday, accusing Counsel concerned of “flagrant misconduct and alleged professional incompetence” in the opening sentence of the judgment.  Three men convicted of offences under the Terrorism Act 2006 appealed to the CA.  One of them, Farooqi, c... [More]

No duty on solicitors to confirm opponent’s PI cover in place

 At the trial last month of a solicitors’ negligence claim the High Court has held that there was no duty on a solicitors’ firm, acting for a client in civil litigation, to ensure that the opponent had effective professional indemnity insurance cover in place.   The claimants sued the solicitors’ firm (BG) which had previously represented them in a dispute with an ar... [More]

Plus ça change? Re-litigating the underlying claim in a solicitors’ negligence case

In a solicitors’ negligence claim based on a previous case which was lost or under-settled it is not unusual to see the complaint that one party is seeking to re-litigate the original claim.  However, the complaint is normally one levelled by the defendant against the claimant.  The correct approach is to assess the “value” of the lost chance of the claim succeeding by ... [More]