Griffiths v Evans: CA 1953

The parties disputed the terms on which the solicitor had been engaged, and in particular as to the scope of the duty undertaken by and entrusted to the solicitor as regards advising the client.
Held: Where there is a dispute between a solicitor and the client about the existence or the terms of an oral retainer the Court may give some preference to the client’s evidence.
Denning LJ, dissenting, said: ‘On this question of retainer, I would observe that where there is a difference between a solicitor and his client upon it, the courts have said, for the last 100 years or more, that the word of the client is to be preferred to the word of the solicitor, or, at any rate, more weight is to be given to it (see Crossley v. Crowther, per Turner V-C, and Re Paine, per Warrington J.). The reason is plain. It is because the client is ignorant and the solicitor is, or should be, learned. If the solicitor does not take the precaution of getting a written retainer, he has only himself to thank for being at variance with his client over it and must take the consequences.’ and
‘The general principle is that ‘a solicitor is the agent of his client in all matters that may reasonably be expected to arise for decision in the cause”.


Denning LJ


[1953] 2 All ER 1364, [1953] 1 WLR 1424


England and Wales


CitedCrossley v Crowther 20-Nov-1851
A, who was an equitable mortgagee by deposit of deeds ot property belonging to the estate of B, was paid off by C, on an agreement with the executors of B. (as their solicitor stated) that proceedings should be taken in A’s name to enforce the . .

Cited by:

CitedJarvis v Swans Tours Ltd CA 16-Oct-1972
The plaintiff had booked a holiday through the defendant travel tour company. He claimed damages after the holiday failed to live up to expectations.
Held: In appropriate cases where one party contracts to provide entertainment and enjoyment, . .
CitedMidland Bank Trust Co Ltd v Hett Stubbs and Kemp (a firm) ChD 1978
A solicitor had failed to register an option as a land charge over property. The court was asked what steps should have been taken by a solicitor in the conduct of a claim: ‘Mr Harman [leading counsel for the plaintiff] sought to rely upon the fact . .
CitedGlyn v McGarel-Groves CA 14-Jul-2006
The claimant had employed a French veterinary surgeon to treat her horse ‘Anna’. She engaged the defendant English veterinary surgeon to attend the treament and observe. The horse died at the principal negligence of the French vet. The English vet . .
CitedSibley and Co v Reachbyte Ltd and Another ChD 4-Nov-2008
Solicitors appealed against a costs order made refusing them payment of all of Leading and Junior counsel’s fees.
Held: The leading counsel involved had not provided anything like a detailed account of the time he had spent on what was a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Damages, Legal Professions

Updated: 07 December 2022; Ref: scu.186347