Brickfield Properties Ltd v Newton: CA 1971

Court’s Investigation of Construction Claims

The court heard an application to amend pleadings to add a claim about negligent supervision of a construction. Sachs LJ said: ‘Where there are found in completed buildings serious defects of the type here under review the facts relating to design, execution and superintendence are inextricably entangled until such time as the court succeeds in elucidating the position through evidence. The design has inevitably to be closely examined even if the only claim relates to superintendence, and all the more so if the designs are, as is further alleged here, experimental or such as need amplification in the construction progresses. The architect is under a continuing duty to check that his design will work in practice and to correct any errors as they emerge. It savours of the ridiculous for the architect to be able to say, as it was here suggested to him that he could say: ‘true, my design was faulty, but, of course, I saw to it that the contractors followed it faithfully’ and be enabled on that ground to succeed in the action.
The same, or substantially the same set of facts, falls to be investigated in relation to the design claim and the superintendence claim. The plans and specifications and ancillary documents are relevant to the superintendence claim as well as to the designer claim: hence the inability of the defendant to allege prejudice with regard to the preparation of his defence if this appeal is allowed. Accordingly, the ‘new cause of action’ falls within the ambit of RSC Ord. 20 r. 5(5), and it is one which the court has jurisdiction to permit to be pursued’.

Sachs LJ, Edmund Davies LJ
[1971] 1 WLR 862, [1971] 3 All ER 328
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRoberts v Gill and Co Solicitors and Others SC 19-May-2010
The claimant beneficiary in the estate sought damages against solicitors who had acted for the claimant’s brother, the administrator, saying they had allowed him to take control of the assets in the estate. The will provided that property was to be . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Limitation, Construction

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.415957