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Architects' Professional Consultancy Certificates – Certifiable Trouble?

As we draw to the close of 2013, one case from this year which did not receive as much attention as I expected was Hunt & Ors. v Strutt & Parker & Ors. [2013] EWHC 681 (TCC). 

It is most rare to have a judgment concerning Professional Consulting Certificates (“PCCs”) issued by an architect, essentially in order to certify that a property complies with the apposite plans and building regulations. 

Hitherto, practitioners have been going mad trying to figure out exactly what principles to apply.

Following Hunt there is now more certainty about how one should approach such disputes in the future. 

Akenhead J held that claims about PCCs are akin to contractual warranties.  He also confirmed that such claims can be brought in negligent mis-statement.  Accordingly, ‘reliance’ is crucial.  However, the way the judge approached what reliance was necessary in the circumstances is insightful and not necessarily as one would expect.  He also addressed limitation, such as is frequently necessary in this type of case with concurrent contractual and tortious liability.

I will not comment further at this stage since I am currently involved in a protracted PCC case but, if one of these cases lands on your desk, I simply prescribe as a cure that you read paragraphs 114 to 134 of this judgment…




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