The executor brought an action against the solicitor who had advised his client in connection with the transfer of her house in which she was to continue to live, saying he should have advised her that the gift would not protect her from Inheritance Tax liability because she continued to live in the house.
Held: In this case the claim was statute barred in any event, but had the claim continued, it would have been asked when the loss occurred, and it would have been at the date of the gift, and not at any later date. Accordingly there would have been no damages to claim as by the executor, and the claim would have also failed for this reason. The court considered ‘inadequate transactions’: ‘There have been several cases where a negligent person (usually a solicitor) failed adequately to protect the client’s interests and/or procured less valuable rights for the client than should have been procured and/or did not secure for the client that to which he or she was entitled. In each of these cases the court has held that the client suffered loss when what I shall for convenience call ‘the inadequate transaction’ was concluded, and not at the later date when the risk against which the solicitor had failed to provide protection eventuated.’
The Hon Mr Justice Gray Lord Justice Dyson Lord Justice Carnwath
 EWCA Civ 307, Times 23-Mar-2004,  Lloyd’s Rep PN 16
England and Wales
Cited – Forster v Outred and Co CA 1981
A mother signed a mortgage deed charging her property to H as security for a loan to her son. She claimed the solicitor had been negligent in his advice. The solicitor replied that the claim was out of time. The loss accrued not when demand for . .
Cited – Knapp v Ecclesiastical Insurance Group Plc and Another CA 30-Oct-1997
A claim in negligence was brought against insurance brokers for failing to advise the claimant of certain matters with the result that an insurance policy entered into by the claimant was voidable for non-disclosure.
Held: The claimant . .
Cited – Bell v Peter Browne and Co CA 1990
Mr Bell asked his solicitors to transfer the matrimonial home into his wife’s sole name. He was to receive a one-sixth interest of the gross proceeds on a sale. His interests were to be protected by a trust deed or mortgage. The solicitor drafted . .
Cited – Milton v Walker and Stanger 1981
The plaintiff instructed her solicitor to prepare documents and advise on a gift from P’s uncle to P and her cousin W in the proportions 2/3:1/3. P and W agreed that, should the farm be sold, the costs and capital gains tax (CGT) arising there from . .
Cited – D W Moore and Co Ltd v Ferrier CA 1988
The company took in a new director and shareholder, and relied upon their solicitors to draft a covenant to restrain him competing within a set time of leaving the company. The covenant turned out to be ineffective. The defendant solicitors replied . .
Cited – Baker v Ollard and Bentley CA 12-May-1982
The plaintiff and a Mr and Mrs Bodman agreed to buy a house. The plaintiff intended to live on the first floor and the Bodmans on the ground floor. The solicitor should have advised them to convey the freehold into their joint names and then to . .
Cited – White and Another v Jones and Another HL 16-Feb-1995
Will Drafter liable in Negligence to Beneficiary
A solicitor drawing a will may be liable in negligence to a potential beneficiary, having unduly delayed in the drawing of the will. The Hedley Byrne principle was ‘founded upon an assumption of responsibility.’ Obligations may occasionally arise . .
Cited – Macaulay and Farley v Premium Life Assurance Co Ltd 29-Apr-1999
Executors claimed as damages the amount of Inheritance Tax which became payable on death as a result of the negligent advice given to the deceased by the defendant.
Held: The damage claimed (liability for inheritance tax) was not suffered . .
Cited – Cobbold v London Borough of Greenwich CA 9-Aug-1999
The tenant had sought an order against the council landlord for failure to repair her dwelling. The defendant appealed refusal of leave to amend the pleadings in anticipation of the trial, now due to start on the following day.
Held: Leave was . .
Cited – Robinson v Fernsby, Scott-Kilvert CA 19-Dec-2003
The judge had drafted his judgment and sent the drafts to the parties for comment. He then received additional written representations from one party, from which he realised that he had made an error, and issued a corrected judgment which a . .
Cited – The Law Society v Sephton and Co and others CA 13-Dec-2004
The Society appealed dismissal for limitation of its claim against the defendant firm of accountants arising from alleged fraud in approval of a solicitor’s accounts.
Held: The liability did not arise until the Society decided to make . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Professional Negligence, Limitation
Updated: 10 June 2022; Ref: scu.194571