Otter v Church Adams Tatham and Co: ChD 1953

The plaintiff was sole administratix of her son’s estate. He had died on active service intestate. She claimd negligence on the part of the solicitors, saying they were in breach of their duty to exercise care and skill as solicitors, having failed to advise her, acting as the agent of Michael, that his interest in certain settled property was an entailed interest and, that having recently attained 21, he was in a position to disentail and make the property his own.
Held: The plaintiff had established a breach of contract by the defendants. As to damages, the defendants said that a personal representative can have no better rights than the person he represents and that, since Michael could have received no more than nominal damages in his lifetime, the plaintiff, as his personal representative, could have no better claim than that. The matter was ‘admittedly free from authority’, but the right of action which had previously been vested in Michael vested in his personal representative and that the damage had to be ascertained in accordance with principles affecting damages for breach of contract ‘at the time that the damage accrues.’


Upjohn J


[1953] Ch 280


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCorbett v Bond Pearce (a Firm) CA 8-Aug-1997
The solicitors had added a date to a will executed by the client, as a result of this the will had been open to challenge. Objection was then made to the will on the ground of capacity. An action found negligence, but costs were paid from the estate . .
CitedCorbett (As Administrator of the Estate of Miss N A Tresawna (Deceased)) v Bond Pearce (a Firm) CA 11-Apr-2001
The testatrix had executed her will, but the will was dependent upon deeds of gift first taking place. The will was only later dated, once the deeds had been put into effect. . .
CitedNestle v National Westminster Bank CA 6-May-1992
The claimant said that the defendant bank as trustee of her late father’s estate had been negligent in its investment of trust assets.
Held: The claimant had failed to establish either a breach of trust or any loss flowing from it, though . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Professional Negligence, Damages, Wills and Probate, Trusts

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.185875