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 suffered damage when the policy was entered into: ‘the cause of action can accrue and the plaintiff have suffered damages once he has acted upon the relevant advice ‘to his detriment’ and failed to get that to which he was entitled. He is less well off than he would have been if the defendant had not been negligent. Applying this to the present case, the plaintiffs paid their renewal premium without getting in return a binding contract of indemnity from the insurance company. They had acted to their detriment: they did not get that to which they were entitled. The fact that how serious the consequences of the negligence would be depended upon subsequent events and contingencies does not alter this; such considerations go to the quantification of the plaintiffs’ loss not to whether or not they have suffered loss. The risk of loss existed from the outset and in the absence of better evidence would have to be evaluated and assessed as a risk and damages awarded accordingly.’
and ‘It is immaterial that at some later time the damage suffered by the plaintiffs became more serious or was capable of more precise quantification. Provided that some damage has been suffered by the plaintiffs as a result of the second defendant’s negligence which was ‘real damage’ (as distinct from purely minimal damage) or damage ‘beyond what can be regarded as negligible’ that suffices for the accrual of the cause of action.’
Hobhouse LJ
[1997] EWCA Civ 2616, [1998] PNLR 172, [1998] Lloyds Rep IR 390
England and Wales
CitedForster 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 . .
CitedBaker 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 by:
CitedDaniels v Thompson CA 18-Mar-2004
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 . .
CitedKhan v R M Falvey and Co (a Firm) CA 22-Mar-2002
The claimant sought damages from his former solicitors for failing to act to avoid his case being struck out. The second action was itself delayed, and the defendants asserted that the cause of action occurred not when his claim was actually struck . .
CitedHatton v Messrs Chafes (A Firm) CA 13-Mar-2003
The defendant firm appealed against a refusal to strike out the claimant’s claim for professional negligence, asserting that the judge should have considered the limitation issue in the light of Khan v Falvey.
Held: By the time that the . .
CitedThe 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 . .
CitedIqbal v Legal Services Commission CA 10-May-2005
The claimant had been a partner in a firm of solicitors. They came to be suspected by the respondent of overclaiming legal aid payments and sums were withheld. For this and other reasons the practice folded, and the claimant became insolvent. He . .
CitedLaw Society v Sephton and Co (a Firm) and Others HL 10-May-2006
A firm of solicitors had a member involved in a substantial fraud. The defendant firm of accountants certified the firm’s accounts. There were later many calls upon the compensation fund operated by the claimants, who sought recovery in turn from . .
CitedWatkins and Another v Jones Maidment Wilson (A Firm) CA 4-Mar-2008
The claimants alleged professional negligence by the defendant solicitors in advising them to agree to a postponment of a completion. The defendants raised as a preliminary issue the question of limitation. The claimant said that the limitation . .
CitedPegasus Management Holdings Sca and Another v Ernst and Young (A Firm) and Another ChD 11-Nov-2008
The claimants alleged professional negligence in advice given by the defendant on a share purchase, saying that it should have been structured to reduce Capital Gains Tax. The defendants denied negligence and said the claim was statute barred.
CitedSpencer v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Moore v Similar CA 1-Jul-2008
Frankovich claim – arises with measurable loss
Each claimant sought Frankovich damages alleging a failure to implement European law leading to a loss.
Held: Such a claim was available against the government after it had failed to implement the Directive so as to provide them with the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 April 2021; Ref: scu.143015