Property consultant takes £18m High Court hit

The High Court has upheld a professional negligence claim against commercial property consultant Drivers Jonas, ordering it to pay £18.05m to claimant Capita Alternative Fund Services (Guernsey).

The claimant, which is the trustee of the Matrix Chatham Maritime Trust, instructed Bond Pearce partner Anna Maxwell, with 4 New Square’s Sue Carr as counsel. Carr also represented trust manager Matrix Securities, which had asked for up to £42.3m in ­damages, but was refused.

Carr faced 4 New Square’s Roger Stewart QC, who ­was instructed by Berrymans Lace Mawer for the defendant.

The court found that Drivers Jonas was negligent in its valuation of a factory outlet shopping centre in Chatham Historic Dockyard that the claimant had acquired.

Capita paid £62.8m for the Grade II listed site in 2001 on the alleged basis of advice from Drivers Jonas regarding its commercial prospects. The defendant based that valuation on the site receiving the benefit of enterprise zone tax allowances; without that benefit it valued the site at £48.1m.

Ruling, Mr Justice Eder found that a competent ­valuation of the property at the time without any ­enterprise zone allowance would have been between £32m and £37m.