Dunlop v McGowans: HL 6 Mar 1980

The landlord of a block of flats needed vacant possession to pursue redevelopment. The respondent solicitors failed to give the necessary notice in good time, delaying the development by a year. The landlord appellant delayed five years before claiming damages, and now appealed against denial of his claim, arguing that section 11 produced in the case of this one breach of duty a series of ‘appropriate dates’ under section 6, each relating only to the ‘pecuniary loss’ which could be demonstrated to have been suffered on or before that date. This was contrasted with only ‘potential loss,’ which would not serve to produce a terminus a quo as an appropriate date, albeit it could be made the subject of proceedings and a claim, if the pursuer thought fit, before it ripened into a ‘pecuniary loss.’ Although the relevant time could elapse as to some part of the loss or damage suffered, it did not follow that it would have elapsed as to other parts: and in this it is right to say that he was not contending that more than one action could be brought for the same breach of duty.
Held: The argument, and the appeal failed. The claimed distinction could not be established: ‘All is a question of quantification of the harm done by the breach of duty. The loss damage and injury suffered by the pursuer was that arising from the fact that he was unable to obtain vacant possession at Whitsun 1971 and pursue his plans for development, and it occurred then.’


Lord Keith of Kinkel, Viscount Dilhorne, Lord Edmund-Davies, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton


[1980] UKHL 17, 1980 SC (HL) 73, 1980 SLT 129




Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 11



Cited by:

CitedDavid T Morrison and Co Ltd (T/A Gael Home Interiors) v ICL Plastics Ltd and Another SCS 14-Mar-2013
Extra Division – Inner House – An explosion at the defenders’ neighbouring premises had damaged those of the pursuer. The defenders now appealed against a finding that the claim was out of time calculated from the time when it had sufficient . .
CitedDavid T Morrison and Co Ltd (T/A Gael Home Interiors) v ICL Plastics Ltd and Others SC 30-Jul-2014
The claimant sought damages after an explosion at the defender’s nearby premises damaged its shop. The defender said that the claim was out of time, and now appealed against a decision that time had not begun to run under the 1973 Act.
Held: . .
CitedGordon and Others (Trustees of The Inter Vivos Trust) v Campbell Riddell Breeze Paterson Llp SC 15-Nov-2017
The claimants appealed from rejection of their claims for losses saying that such losses had been caused by their solicitors in failing properly to identify the tenant and the relevant lease when issuing notices to quit. The solicitors argued that . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 24 November 2022; Ref: scu.279745