Neighbour v Barker: CA 1992

Purchasers had set out to buy the property without having a survey, relying upon representations as to its condition, later found to be fraudulent, from the vendor. The condition was discovered only after exchange of contracts. The purchasers’ solicitors were not negligent in advising the purchaser as to the dire consequences of not completing, since there was at that time no way out of the contract known. The replies to preliminary enquiries included incorrect assertions that the property had had the benefit of NHBC cover, but that it had expired, and that there were no defects ‘so far as the vendors are aware, but the purchaserss must in all respects rely upon their own inspection or survey’. The purchasers had strongly advised the purchasers to have a survey before exchange. The purchaser felt obliged to complete and did so. It later transpired that the NHBC had found the house unrepairable and settled the claim. At first instance the vendor had been found liable for fraudulent misrepresentation, but the second defendants, the purchasers’ solicitors were not negligent.
Held: The solicitors were not to be criticised. Had completion been delayed, they might have discovered the facts that would have allowed their client not to have to complete, but there was no reason for them to have known that at the time.
The vendors were responsible since the words ‘as far as the vendor knows but the purchaser must in all respects rely on their own inspection and survey’ included a representation which they knew to be false since they knew of the defect.


[1992] 40 EG 140


Misrepresentation Act 1967


England and Wales


CitedCounty Personnel (Employment Agency) v Pulver (Alan R) and Co CA 1987
The parties were negotiating for an under-lease. The lease provided for rent to increase along with rent reviews under the head lease. The solicitors failed to ascertain the rent under the head lease, to advise his client to have the property . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Professional Negligence

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.219183