The law of unintended consequences? Professional liability for fall in property value

In a case that will have professionals looking over their shoulders, the Court of Appeal has held that an engineer who caused a delay in completion of a development project was liable for damages caused by a fall in the market value of the property.

The Court of Appeal’s decision in John Grimes Partnership Limited v Gubbins is likely to lead to an increase in the number of claims against professionals where damages are sought for falls in property value. The potential scale of these losses, compared with other heads of claim, means claimants have every incentive to pursue such claims if at all possible.

For those who thought SAAMCO meant that falls in property values were not recoverable, the Court of Appeal made clear its view that SAAMCO was concerned with liability for negligent valuation and was of little assistance in the latest case, which involved liability for losses caused by the professional’s delay in breach of contract…

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