Mehjoo v Harben Barker: duty of an accountant confined to the terms and limits of its retainer
This judgment of the English Court of Appeal considered whether an accountant who had been retained to provide general accounting services was under a duty to advise its client about possible tax-saving schemes or of the need to take specialist tax advice.
The background is briefly summarised as follows. The claimant, Mr Hossein Mehjoo, was born in Iran to Iranian parents. He moved to the UK in 1971 and, having claimed asylum in 1981, was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. In 1996, Mr Mehjoo became a British citizen.
Harben Barker (an unincorporated practice), which subsequently became Harben Barker Ltd, is a firm of chartered accountants that acted for Mr Mehjoo and provided him with accountancy services and general tax advice. Mr Purnell, a partner at Harben Barker, acted for Mr Mehjoo from 1980 onwards (prior to the merger of his own firm with Harben Barker and from 1991 onwards as a partner of Harben Barker). In 1999, Mr Mehjoo signed an engagement letter with Harben Barker in respect of the general accounting services being provided, such as the preparation of annual tax returns (the retainer). However, on various occasions Mr Purnell gave Mr Mehjoo tax planning advice outside the parameters of the retainer without being asked to do so…
Click on the link below to read the rest of the Ogier briefing.
Sign in or Register to continue reading this article
It's quick, easy and free!
It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.Register now
Why register to The Lawyer
In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.
Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.
Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.
More relevant to you
To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.
News from Ogier
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Ogier
Decisions over the past 12 months will provide considerable comfort to those concerned about exposure to clawback action.
The High Court of England and Wales may refuse to exercise its discretion to wind up companies incorporated abroad where there would be little likelihood of the petitioners deriving benefit from the winding-up.