Firm's appeal court damages claim against Midland fails

A LAW firm that accused Midland Bank of breach of contract for failing to inform it of a new account offering better returns, has failed in its damages claim.

Suriya & Taylor, based in Ilford, Essex, brought a test case against the bank, claiming it lost £33,000 because it was not told in May 1994 about the new clients' premium deposit account.

In challenging a High Court judge's dismissal in July 1997 of Suriya & Taylor's breach of contract claim, Michael Douglas QC told the Court of Appeal that while Midland prided itself on being the “listening bank”, it could not be called the “communicating bank”.

However, Lady Justice Butler-Sloss, sitting with Lords Justice Schiemann and Henry, held that Midland was under no duty to inform the solicitors of a new kind of account that provided more favourable terms.

The new Midland account, which could be used as a fully-fledged operating account, was specifically aimed at solicitors, accountants, estate agents and insurance brokers.

Douglas told the court that when the account was introduced in May 1984, Midland intended to tell all its existing customers about it.

But he said Suriya & Taylor was not informed until May 1988.

In the intervening period, the firm kept substantial sums standing to the credit of its client account at the Midland on which no interest was paid.