Groom v Crocker: 1939

An action by a client against a solicitor alleging negligence in the conduct of the client’s affairs, is an action for breach of contract. A solicitor is not entitled to payment of his costs by his client where his own negligence makes the work he did quite ineffective.
Sir Wilfred Greene MR said: ‘The right given to the insurers is to have control of proceedings in which they and the assured have a common interest – the assured because he is the defendant and the insurers because they are contractually bound to indemnify him. Each is interested in seeing that any judgment to be recovered against the assured shall be for as small a sum as possible. It is the assured upon whom the burden of the judgment will fall if the insurers are insolvent. The effect of the provisions in question is, I think, to give to the insurers the right to decide upon the proper tactics to pursue in the conduct of the action, provided that they do so in what they bona fide consider to be the common interest of themselves and their assured. But the insurers are in my opinion clearly not entitled to allow their judgment as to the best tactics to pursue to be influenced by the desire to obtain for themselves some advantage altogether outside the litigation in question with which the assured has no concern.’


Sir Wilfred Greene Mr


[1939] 1 KB 194


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedHeywood v Wellers CA 1976
The claimant instructed solicitors in injunction proceedings which they conducted negligently. The solicitors had put the case in the hands of an incompetent junior clerk. She sued acting in person, and succeeded but now appealed the only limited . .
CitedFreakley and others v Centre Reinsurance International Company and others HL 11-Oct-2006
When it became clear that the company would be financially overwhelmed by asbestos related claims, a voluntary scheme of arrangement was proposed under s425. The House was now asked whether the right to re-imbursement of the company’s lawyers after . .
CitedTravelers Insurance Company Ltd v XYZ SC 30-Oct-2019
Challenge to the making of a non-party costs order under section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 against the product liability insurer of one of the defendants in litigation being managed under a Group Litigation Order (‘GLO’). Many of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Contract, Professional Negligence

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.226985