Profit and loss

I am responding to an article by Philip Kabraji and Andrew Cottle of Grant Thornton entitled 'Best Prepared will win a claim' (The Lawyer, 29 April).

While it correctly refers to the importance of ensuring that claims are substantiated with documentation and that data collection is properly planned, it is over-simplistic in a number of respects.

In particular, it is suggested that a plaintiff previously trading at a loss may not suffer loss following business interruption. Firstly, this later term covers a form of insurance policy but it appears that the article was not written specifically covering insurance claims. If it was, of course, the insurance contract sets out a formula which limits the claim and is not restricted solely to those businesses which are profitable.

Secondly, the idea that simply because a plaintiff is trading at a loss means that it has not suffered a loss of profits is nonsense. It may be that sales are lost, in which case marginal profits may also be lost and/or additional costs may arise, which would cause loss of profits.

What is important is that the quantification of the plaintiff's claim follows the circumstances of the loss. It is not for the expert to prove the plaintiff's loss but merely to quantify and/or support it.

AD Parton

Coopers & Lybrand.