Strover v Harrington: 1988

A property was at first wrongly described by the agents as having mains drainage. Correcting information was sent to the buyer’s solicitors by the Agents, but the solicitors did not pass on the correction to their client. The mistake was later repeated by the valuer.
Held: Sir Nicholas Browne-Wilkinson VC said: ‘if it is once shown that a misrepresentation has been made, it is no answer for the representor to say that the representee has been negligent and could have found out the true facts if he had acted otherwise. The representee is under no duty of care to the representor to check on the accuracy of the representation. The representor is bound by his representations, however careless the representee may have been.’ However when documents were received by the purchaser’s solicitor, he was obliged to communicate them to his client, and that therefore there was from that time no concealment. The knowledge of the solicitor was imputed to his client. It was for a purchaser to satisfy himself as to the condition of what he purchased. The cause of the loss was not any misrepresentation, but the solicitor’s failure. In any event the property was worth the price paid.
Browne-Wilkinson VC: ‘In this, as in all other normal conveyancing transactions, after there has been a subject to contract agreement the parties hand the matter over to their solicitors who become the normal channel for communication between vendor and purchaser in all matters relating to that transaction. In so doing, in my judgment the parties impliedly give actual authority to those solicitors to receive on their behalf all relevant information from the other party relating to that transaction. The solicitors are under an obligation to communicate that relevant information to their own clients. At the very least, the solicitors are held out as having ostensible authority to receive such information. Whether there be express or ostensible authority, the purchaser is in my judgment estopped from denying that he received the information relating to the transaction which has been communicated to his solicitors acting in the same transaction. In my judgment, such knowledge should be imputed to the principal.’


Sir Nicholas Browne-Wilkinson VC


[1989] ANZ Conv R 352, [1988] 1 Ch 396, [1988] 09 EG 61, [1988] 2 WLR 572


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMeretz Investments Nv and Another v ACP Ltd and others ChD 30-Jan-2006
The applicant challenged the exercise of a power of sale under a mortgage, saying that the mortgagee’s purposes included purposes not those under the mortgage. The parties had been involved in an attempted development of a penthouse.
Held: The . .
CitedHayward v Zurich Insurance Company Plc CA 31-Mar-2015
The claimant sought damages alleging his back had been injured at work. The insurers accepted liability but said that the claimant had exaggerated the extent of his injury. The claim was settled, but later a neighbour of the claimants said that the . .
CitedHayward v Zurich Insurance Company Plc SC 27-Jul-2016
The claimant had won a personal injury case and the matter had been settled with a substantial payout by the appellant insurance company. The company now said that the claimant had grossly exaggerated his injury, and indeed wasfiully recovered at . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Legal Professions

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.219193