Sweetman v Nathan and others: CA 25 Jul 2003

The claimant had been engaged with his solicitor in a fraudulent land transaction. He now sought to sue the solicitor for negligence. The solicitor replied that the claimant was unable to rely upon his own unlawful act to make a claim.
Held: Although the claimant’s fraud on the bank was a ‘but for’ cause of his loss, the claim in negligence should not be struck out on the basis that, given the fraud finding, the claimant had no prospect of success in any action against his solicitor for negligent conveyancing. The key factors were that: (1) the claim against the solicitor for negligence was conceptually entirely separate from the fraud upon which both of them had been engaged: there was force in the analogy with a case I had posited at paragraph 42 of the judgment; and (2) the negligence action could be pleaded and proved without reliance upon any part of the fraud assumed to have been committed on the bank.


Lord Justice Schiemann Lord Justice Waller Lord Justice Dyson


[2003] EWCA Civ 1115, Times 01-Sep-2003, [2004] PNLR 89




England and Wales


CitedStandard Chartered Bank v Pakistan National Shipping Corporation and Others (No 3) ComC 27-May-1998
A company making a false statement on a bill of lading would be held liable for the tort of deceit when it knew that the bill must be relied upon by bankers and others making arrangements on its contents. A claimant ‘cannot recover for a loss . .
CitedHunter v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police HL 19-Nov-1981
No collateral attack on Jury findigs.
An attempt was made to open up in a civil action, allegations of assaults by the police prior to the making of confessions which had been disposed of in a voir dire in the course of a criminal trial. The plaintiffs had imprisoned having spent many . .
CitedSpecialist Group International Ltd v Deakin and Another CA 23-May-2001
Law upon res judicata – action estoppel and issue estoppel and the underlying policy interest whereby there is finality in litigation and litigants are not vexed twice on the same matter.
(May LJ) ‘the authorities taken as a whole tend to . .
CitedCottingham v Earl of Shrewsbury 1843
‘If a plaintiff can not get at his right without trying and deciding a case between Co-defendants the Court will try and decide that case, and the Co-defendants will be bound. But, if the relief given to the Plaintiff does not require or involve a . .
CitedHenderson v Henderson 20-Jul-1843
Abuse of Process and Re-litigation
The court set down the principles to be applied in abuse of process cases, where a matter was raised again which should have been dealt with in earlier proceedings.
Sir James Wigram VC said: ‘In trying this question I believe I state the rule . .
CitedMunni Bibi v Tirloki Nath PC 1900
(Year unknown) A res judicata estoppel will normally have effect between a plaintiff and defendant, but can also have effect between defendants. ‘In such a case three conditions are requisite: (1) There must be a conflict of interest between the . .
CitedSaunders v Edwards CA 24-Mar-1986
The parties had agreed for the sale and purchase of land and chattels, but had deliberately misdescribed the apportionment so as to reduce tax liability. The purchasers then brought an action for misrepresentation. The vendor replied that the action . .
CitedStandard Chartered Bank v Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Seaways Maritime Ltd, SGS United Kingdom Ltd, Oakprime International Ltd, Arvind Mehra (No 2) CA 27-Jul-2000
Where a deceit was established leading to an award of damages, that award of damages was not capable of being reduced under the 1949 Act through a contribution to the loss occasioned by the claimant’s own behaviour, where that behaviour did not fall . .

Cited by:

CitedSt Paul Travelers Insurance Co Ltd v Okporuah and others ChD 10-Aug-2006
The first defendant had acquired several properties, and was due to make repayments greatly in excess of his income. A further defendant, his brother, was a solicitor who was known to have been involved in mortgage fraud and was suspected of having . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions

Updated: 08 June 2022; Ref: scu.185878