Independent experts face flurry of negligence claims

Titmuss Sainer Dechert is advising electrical goods retailer Currys in a rent review case that may open the door to negligence claims against a spectrum of independent experts.

Lawyers have shied away from advising clients to sue independent experts because of the failure rate. No case against an expert in a rent review case has ever succeeded.

This case, due to start today (Monday) in the High Court, is being brought against John Martin, senior partner of surveyors Knight Frank.

Martin was independent adviser when he reviewed the rent of a store in Shrewsbury.

Currys claims Martin was negligent in determining a rent of u107,000 a year, and is seeking damages of more than u800,000.

Jeremy Grose, head of property litigation at Titmuss Sainer, says: “Although the case arises out of a rent review, the issues raised have wider implications in view of the increasing use of independent experts' determination.

“If this case succeeds, it will show lawyers that the courts are at last willing to intervene in expert determinations.”

Chairman of Kennedys, Stephen Cantle, and insurance litigation specialist Almut Blocker represent Martin.

Blocker says: “This case will be strenuously defended.”