The claimant firm of solicitors had been found negligent, and now sought a contribution to the damages awarded from the barrister defendant. They had not managed properly issues as to their clients competence to handle the proceedings.
Held: The standard of care required was that: ‘the barrister must conduct himself in his professional work with the competence (care and skill) of a barrister of ordinary skill who is competent to handle that type of and weight of work and a breach of that duty occurs when the error is one which no reasonably competent member of the profession possessing those skills should have made.’ Counsel’s decision to go ahead despite the issues as to the client’s competence was not negligent since necessarily he had to rely on the solicitors’ closer acquaintance with the client.
Toulmin QC J
 EWHC 126 (TCC)
Civil Liability (Contribution Claims) Act 1978 2
England and Wales
Cited – Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee QBD 1957
Professional to use Skilled Persons Ordinary Care
Negligence was alleged against a doctor.
Held: McNair J directed the jury: ‘Where some special skill is exercised, the test for negligence is not the test of the man on the Clapham omnibus, because he has not got this special skill. The test . .
Cited – Williams v Thompson Leatherdale (A Firm) and Another QBD 10-Nov-2008
The claimant sought damages from her legal advisers. They had allowed her to settle an ancillary relief application knowing that the case of White v White had been referred to the House of lords, and the settlement proved to have been on . .
Cited – Moy v Pettman Smith (a firm) and another HL 3-Feb-2005
Damages were claimed against a barrister for advice on a settlement given at the door of the court. After substantial litigation, made considerably more difficult by the negligence of the solicitors, the barrister had not advised the claimant at the . .
Cited – Brutus v Cozens HL 19-Jul-1972
The House was asked whether the conduct of the defendant at a tennis match at Wimbledon amounted to using ‘insulting words or behaviour’ whereby a breach of the peace was likely to be occasioned contrary to section 5. He went onto court 2, blew a . .
Cited – W v L CA 1974
For civil patients, it matters a great deal whether the classification of their condition is ‘severe subnormality’ or just ‘subnormality’ or whether it is ‘mental illness’ or ‘psychopathic disorder’. Lawton LJ discussed the construction of the . .
Cited – Arthur JS Hall and Co (A Firm) v Simons; Barratt v Woolf Seddon (A Firm); Harris v Schofield Roberts and Hill (A Firm) HL 20-Jul-2000
Clients sued their solicitors for negligence. The solicitors responded by claiming that, when acting as advocates, they had the same immunities granted to barristers.
Held: The immunity from suit for negligence enjoyed by advocates acting in . .
Cited – Ridehalgh v Horsefield; Allen v Unigate Dairies Ltd CA 26-Jan-1994
Guidance for Wasted Costs Orders
Guidance was given on the circumstances required for the making of wasted costs orders against legal advisers. A judge invited to make an order arising out of an advocate’s conduct of court proceedings must make full allowance for the fact that an . .
Cited – Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell and Co (a Firm) HL 1978
Extent of Counsel’s Immunity in Negligence
The House considered the extent of a barrister’s immunity from action in negligence, and particularly whether it covered pre-trial acts or omissions in connection with civil proceedings.
Held: A barrister’s immunity from suit extended only to . .
Cited – Locke v Camberwell Health Authority CA 23-May-1991
The court discussed the relative duties of solicitor and counsel. Taylor LJ set out the principles that: 1) In general a solicitor, is entitled to rely upon the advice of counsel properly instructed;
2) For a solicitor, without special . .
Cited – Sidaway v Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital HL 21-Feb-1985
The plaintiff alleged negligence in the failure by a surgeon to disclose or explain to her the risks inherent in the operation which he had advised.
Held: The appeal failed. A mentally competent patient has an absolute right to refuse to . .
Cited – Kirby v Leather CA 1965
The plaintiff crashed into a van whilst riding his moped and suffered serious brain damage. An inquiry as to a party’s competence to conduct a case had to focus on his capacity to conduct the proceedings. In this case the plaintiff ‘was not capable . .
Cited – In re MB (Medical Treatment) CA 26-Mar-1997
The patient was due to deliver a child. A delivery by cesarean section was necessary, but the mother had a great fear of needles, and despite consenting to the operation, refused the necessary consent to anesthesia in any workable form.
Held: . .
Cited – Practice Note (Family Division: Incapacitated adults) FD 2-Jan-2002
Proceedings which invoked the jurisdiction of the High Court to grant declarations as to the best interests of incapacitated adults were civil proceedings to which the Civil Procedure Rules applied. Although not assigned to any division, having . .
Cited – Masterman-Lister v Brutton and Co, Jewell and Home Counties Dairies (No 1) CA 19-Dec-2002
Capacity for Litigation
The claimant appealed against dismissal of his claims. He had earlier settled a claim for damages, but now sought to re-open it, and to claim in negligence against his former solicitors, saying that he had not had sufficient mental capacity at the . .
Cited – Pritchard Joyce and Hinds v Batcup and Another QBD 17-Jan-2008
The claimant solicitors sought contributions from counsel to the damages they had been obliged to pay to their client in negligence.
Held: Underhill J said: ‘My task is not to seek to decide definitively whether LL were liable in negligence to . .
Cited – Mount v Barker Austin (a Firm) CA 18-Feb-1998
The plaintiff sought damages for professional negligence from his former solicitors in respect of their conduct of a claim on his behalf. He succeeded, but was awarded no damages because the judge had found that his action would be bound to fail. He . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Professional Negligence, Damages
Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.280259