It is a fact of life that sometimes people make mistakes. Unfortunately, this also applies to solicitors. Where solicitors or other professionals make an error or do not perform to the standard expected of them, this can cause loss to the client.
In this case, Bird and Bird LLP acted for Orientfield Holdings (a British Virgin Islands Company) in a proposed purchase of a £25 million property in London. Orientfield lost its £2 million deposit after pulling out of the purchase. It had done so after discovering a major school development was planned nearby.
Orientfield brought a claim against its former solicitors, alleging that Bird & Bird had negligently failed to pass on the information about the development. They claimed for the lost deposit. Bird & Bird denied negligence.
In 2015, the High Court found that Bird & Bird was negligent and should have informed Orientfield of the results of the search report which set out various planning applications near the property and the school development. The firm was ordered to pay £1.8m to Orientfield.
Bird & Bird appealed the decision, arguing that a summary of the report would not have revealed the existence of the development and that Orientfield would have continued with the purchase.
The Court of Appeal upheld the original judgment, deciding that the Judge was correct to find that had Bird & Bird reported to their client on the search report, Orientfield would have been able to make its own decision about whether to proceed. They would have discovered the development and not proceeded.
Perry v Raleys Solicitors
The other recent case was as a result of a personal injury claim.
Mr Perry had instructed Raleys Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation for injury as a result of his previous employment as a coal miner. As a result of the solicitors’ advice, he settled his claim in the sum of £11,600. Some 10 years later, he brought a claim against Raleys. He alleged that Raleys had failed to advise him of a potential services claim (under a scheme the government had set up for claimants who could no longer carry out certain tasks unaided, such as gardening and DIY). He sued Raleys for £17,300 plus interest.
Mr Perry lost his claim in the County Court, with the judge finding that the solicitors had not caused Mr Perry loss. Mr Perry appealed, and the Court of Appeal unanimously allowed his appeal. It found that the judge had been incorrect in its assessment of the evidence, and overruled the decision. It decided that Mr Perry’s loss of chance of making a successful services claim was 80%. The Court of Appeal awarded damages to Mr Perry in an amount agreed between the parties, plus interest.
Our specialist professional negligence team are experts in claims against solicitors and have successfully recovered substantial compensation for our clients. If a solicitor has caused you loss, we can help. Call us today on 0800 988 7756.