County Personnel (Employment Agency) Ltd v Alan R Pulver and Co (a Firm): CA 1987

The claimant sought damages after his negligent solicitors had saddled him with a ruinous underlease. They had had to buy themselves out of the lease. The court considered the date at which damages were to be calculated.
Held: The starting point is to calculate the damages as at th edate of the breach.
Bingham LJ said: ‘While the general rule undoubtedly is that damages for tort or breach of contract are assessed at the date of the breach, this rule also should not be mechanistically applied in circumstances where assessment at another date may more accurately reflect the overriding compensatory rule.’ The ‘diminution in value’ rule is almost always appropriate where property is acquired following negligent advice by surveyors; but that that is not an invariable approach and should not be mechanistically applied in cases where it may appear inappropriate. It was wholly inapt on these particular facts.
Sir Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson V-C observed that the diminution in value ‘rule’ was concerned with cases where the client had purchased for a capital sum a property having a capital value: which was not the instant case. In agreement with Bingham LJ, he thought that the sum needed to be paid by the plaintiffs to release themselves from the burdensome lease represented the true measure of damage under that particular head (there were other heads of damage claimed).


Bingham LJ, Sir Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson V-C


[1987] 1 WLR 916, [1987] ANZ Conv R 391, [1987] 1 All ER 289


England and Wales


CitedLivingstone v Rawyards Coal Co HL 13-Feb-1880
Damages or removal of coal under land
User damages were awarded for the unauthorised removal of coal from beneath the appellant’s land, even though the site was too small for the appellant to have mined the coal himself. The appellant was also awarded damages for the damage done to the . .
CitedDodd Properties (Kent) Ltd v Canterbury City Council CA 21-Dec-1979
The defendants had, in the course of building operations, caused nuisance and damage to the plaintiff’s building. The dispute was very lengthy, the costs of repair increased accordingly, and the parties now disputed the date at which damages fell to . .

Cited by:

CitedKennedy v K B Van Emden and Co; Jordan v Gershon Young Finer and Green and Similar CA 27-Mar-1996
A solicitor failed in 1983 to advise a purchaser of the fact that premium she was paying on purchasing a leasehold flat was unlawful under the Act, and would be unrecoverable on the sale. Before trial however, in 1989 the law changed and the premium . .
CitedSmith New Court Securities Ltd v Scrimgeour Vickers HL 21-Nov-1996
The defendant had made misrepresentations, inducing the claimant to enter into share transactions which he would not otherwise have entered into, and which lost money.
Held: A deceitful wrongdoer is properly liable for all actual damage . .
CitedGolden Strait Corporation v Nippon Yusen Kubishka Kaisha (‘The Golden Victory’) HL 28-Mar-2007
The claimant sought damages for repudiation of a charterparty. The charterpary had been intended to continue until 2005. The charterer repudiated the contract and that repudiation was accepted, but before the arbitrator could set his award, the Iraq . .
CitedWatts and Co v Morrow CA 30-Jul-1991
The plaintiff had bought a house on the faith of the defendant’s report that there were only limited defects requiring repair. In fact the defects were much more extensive. The defendant surveyor appealed against an award of damages after his . .
CitedJoyce v Bowman Law Ltd ChD 18-Feb-2010
The claimant asserted negligence by the defendant licensed conveyancers in not warning him of the effect of an option in the contract. He had been advised that it would allow him to choose to buy additional land, but it was in fact a put option. The . .
CitedBacciottini and Another v Gotelee and Goldsmith (A Firm) CA 18-Mar-2016
A property subject to a planning condition was purchased by the appellant under the advice of the respondent, who failed to notify him of the existence of a planning condition. The judge had awarded the claimant pounds 250 being the cost of the . .
CitedDowns and Another v Chappell and Another CA 3-Apr-1996
The plaintiffs had suceeded in variously establishing claims in deceit and negligence, but now appealed against the finding that no damages had flowed from the wrongs. They had been sold a business on the basis of incorrect figures.
Held: . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 10 June 2022; Ref: scu.181194