Thomas v Hugh James Ford Simey Solicitors [2017] EWCA Civ 1303

Mr Thomas brought a professional negligence claim against his previous solicitors for allegedly settling his claim in respect of Vibration White Finger for an under-value. He argued that he had not received proper advice in respect of special damages (in particular in respect of gratuitous care and assistance received) and so had accepted an offer made in relation to general damages alone.

The Recorder at first instance dismissed the claim and found that there was no actionable breach of duty; the solicitors had advised generally in respect of special damages which was enough.

The Claimant appealed on the grounds that the solicitors had been in breach by failing to provide an approximate value of the special damages claim, failing to inform him about the availability of interim payments and treating comments regarding evidential difficulties as concluding the special damages claim.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal finding that the failures identified did not constitute a breach of duty, as the solicitors’ retainer merely required the solicitors to give advice about possible general and special damages claims. That had been done. It was significant that the claim was a low-value one which the solicitors were running as part of a high volume fixed-costs practice and the Claimant had instructed the solicitor not to pursue the claim for special damages. In those circumstances the solicitors could not be criticised for failing to ‘go the extra mile’. There had to be a sensible limit on what solicitors could be expected to do in those types of cases.

October 28, 2017 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases