Solicitor negligence: Court of Appeal case alerts
The Court of Appeal has recently decided cases on two issues that are fundamental to the practice of a solicitor: limitation and the enforceability of settlement terms. The facts and outcomes of these cases will be of interest for all those giving or relying upon legal advice.
In Susan Berney v Thomas Saul (t/a Saul & Co), dealing with the thorny question of when limitation starts to run in a professional negligence claim, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the County Court and held that the claimant’s cause of action in the professional negligence claim against her former solicitor had accrued from the day that her original claim was settled and as such was not time-barred.
In 1999, Susan Berney (SB) instructed Thomas Saul & Co (TS) to act on her behalf in a personal injury claim (the RTA claim). TS commenced proceedings in 2002 but named the wrong defendant on the claim form. This was later amended but outside the time limit. TS also failed to serve proper particulars of claim. As a result of the delay in proceedings, settlement negotiations stalled. In 2004, SB instructed a new firm of solicitors, Martin Ross (MR), and terminated her retainer with TS. MR informed SB that her claim was likely to be struck out due to the significant delay in serving the particulars of claim. In accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules, the last day for service was 11 August 2002. In light of the litigation and costs risk, therefore, SB agreed to settle her claim for £25,000 plus costs in November 2005. SB issued a negligence claim against TS on 10 January 2011 alleging that she would have recovered far more in damages had the RTA claim been dealt with properly…
If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Walker Morris briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.
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 Walker Morris
News from The Lawyer
Analysis from The Lawyer
Which firms are cutting it in this era of slimline rosters, and who are the GC new brooms making clean sweeps? The Lawyer can reveal all
The law school war shows no signs of ending. But we have, perhaps, reached the end of the beginning.