Reeman and Reeman v Department of Transport; West Marine Surveyors and Consultants and Richard Primrose Ltd: CA 26 Mar 1997

The purchaser of a fishing boat had relied on an incorrect safety certificate in respect of the vessel. He sought to claim in negligence.
Held: The object of the statutory scheme pursuant to which the certificate had been issued was to promote safety at sea and not to safeguard the economic interests of purchasers of the vessels. The court must consider the purpose of a statement, when deciding whether the maker of it owed a duty of care to a claimant, and it recognised the connection between the purpose of the statement and the transaction said to have resulted from reliance upon it. ‘The cases show that before a plaintiff can recover compensation for financial loss caused by negligent mis-statement his claim must meet a number of conditions. Among these are three particularly relevant here. The statement must be plaintiff-specific: that is, it must be given to the actual plaintiff or to a member of a group, identifiable at the time the statement is made, to which the actual plaintiff belongs. Secondly, the statement must be purpose-specific: the statement must be made for the very purpose for which the actual plaintiff has used it. Thirdly, and perhaps overlapping with the second condition, the statement must be transaction-specific: the statement must be made with reference to the very transaction into which the plaintiff has entered in reliance on it.’


Bingham LJ, Phillips LJ


[1997] EWCA Civ 1355, [1997] PNLR 618, [1997] 2 Lloyds Rep 648




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedDP Mann and others v Coutts and Co ComC 16-Sep-2003
The claimants were involved in litigation, They took certain steps on the understanding that the respondents had had deposited with them substantial sums in accounts under binding authorities. The bank had written a letter upon which they claim they . .
CitedCustoms and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc CA 22-Nov-2004
The claimant had obtained judgment against customers of the defendant, and then freezing orders for the accounts. The defendants inadvertently or negligently allowed sums to be transferred from the accounts. The claimants sought repayment by the . .
CitedTrent Strategic Health Authority v Jain and Another HL 21-Jan-2009
The claimants’ nursing home business had been effectively destroyed by the actions of the Authority which had applied to revoke their licence without them being given notice and opportunity to reply. They succeeded on appeal, but the business was by . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Professional Negligence

Updated: 06 November 2022; Ref: scu.141751