Professional Liability, Property, Chancery & Commercial, Other Areas of Law
When should the alarm bells ring?


It is just over 6 years since the run on the Northern Rock bank. It is getting too late for anyone bringing a professional negligence claim in respect of their pre-crash investment decisions to rely on the primary limitation periods. There is section 14A of the Limitation Act 1980 of course.

This week’s Estates Gazette ((2013) 39 EG 97) contains a useful article by Charlotte Bijani of Norton Rose Fulbright on three cases in which the claimants’ arguments that section 14A saved their claims from being time barred were unsuccessful.

The three cases are St Anselm Developments Co Ltd v Slaughter & May [2013] EWHC 125 (Ch), Roger Ward Associates Ltd v Britannia Assets (UK) Ltd [2013] EWHC 1653 (QB) and Rehman v Jones Lang LaSalle Ltd [2013] EWHC 1339 (QB).

Apart from the decisions on section 14A there are a couple of other interesting points in the cases. St Anselm concerned two transactions in which the same error was repeated. The court ruled that there were separate causes of action, with different limitation periods, for the two transactions. Rehman concerned a bank valuation of a warehouse that was relied on by the borrower. The judge considered Scullion v Bank of Scotland Plc (t/a Colleys) [2011] EWCA Civ 693, but held that it did not follow that there could never be a situation involving a commercial transaction of valuable industrial property where a valuer reporting to the bank did not also owe a duty of care to the borrower.

Roger Ward is less interesting but Colman J.’s metaphor of, “loud alarm bells…ringing”, may to have been borrowed from the submissions of the unsuccessful Counsel in Rehman a month earlier.



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