Professional Negligence

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Lee Dawkins, a Professional Negligence solicitor, looks at the worrying problem of Modern Ground Rent provisions under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and the legal redress available to unwitting purchasers faced with sky high rent increases. Slee Blackwell’s professional negligence department has recently been retained to deal with several professional negligence cases involving long leases of National Trust property in Devon that have been extended under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The 1967 Act contains a provision allowing landlords to charge an enhanced...

A court rules that solicitors delay in preparing a will is negligent. Solicitor Lee Dawkins reports on the recent case of Feltham –v- Bouskell in which a solicitor has been found to be negligent for the delay in preparing a Will. The solicitor’s client, Hazel Charlton, was a woman in her 90’s. She had recently been admitted to a nursing home and was suffering from dementia. Hazel decided that she would like to leave a legacy to her step-granddaughter, Lorraine Feltham. The solicitor quite...

A review by the FSA has highlighted a number of banks, including Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS, who may have mis-sold interest rate hedging products, principally to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). Interest rate hedging products were developed to protect borrowers against the risk of interest fluctuations. These products take several different forms, such as:- Interest rate swaps – that “fix” the interest rate Interest rate caps – that cap rises in interest rates Interest rate collars – that limit interest rate rises...

Professional Negligence lawyer at Slee Blackwell’s Taunton office, Lee Dawkins, looks at judicial criticism of the “tick box” approach adopted by E.Surv in a recent surveyors’ negligence claim The courts have given further guidance on the approach to be taken in negligent mortgage valuation cases. E.Surv, the UK’s largest residential surveyor, was found to have been negligent in carrying out two mortgage valuations. In giving his judgment, Mr Justice Coulson criticised E.Surv for blindly following the lender’s “tick box” form. The lender, GMAC,...

Speaking purely from a legal point of view it isn’t a great time to be representing landlords. There has recently been a spate of cases that have gone against landlords following poor advice from solicitors, opening the way for professional negligence claims to be brought against the lawyers. The first case concerned the Occupiers Liability Act 1957. This Act states that anyone who owns property owes a duty of care to people who visits their property, be it a visitor or...

The Legal 500 UK 2011 edition has just been published and Slee Blackwell Solicitors are again being recommended in the areas of claimant personal injury law and professional negligence claims. The Legal 500 is acknowledged as the leading guide to the legal profession. Based on independent research carried out annually, it claims to be the “definitive judgment of law firms’ capabilities.” Slee Blackwell’s personal injury team is highly ranked within the South West, with special mentions going to Exeter based James McNally...

A landmark decision by the Court of Appeal in Scullion –v- Bank of Scotland on 17th June 2011, has effectively cut off any potential professional negligence claims by buy-to-let investors against valuation and mortgage surveyors for overvaluing property. The basic facts were that, in 2002, Mr Scullion purchased a buy-to-let property. A property broker organised a mortgage valuation with Colleys Surveyors (now part of Bank of Scotland) who confirmed that the value of the property was £353,000 with a rental value...

Professional negligence lawyer Emma Slade, looks at the importance of retainer documents in surveyors negligence claims The Court of Appeal has placed onerous duties upon surveyors (and by implication, all professionals) when it comes to the duties that they owe their client – even if the surveyor thinks the retainer has been terminated. The facts of Littlewood –v- Radford & Boston (2009) are relatively simple. Mrs Littlewood purchased a flat in 1996 which had only 35 years left remaining on the lease....

Professional negligence solicitor Lee Dawkins reviews the legal position relating to a negligent valuation. Can a property valuer get a valuation wrong, but still escape legal liability? Well, the answer is a qualified “Yes”. He can get it wrong, as long as it is not too wrong! Courts have long recognised that valuing a property is more of an art than a science. Property prices fluctuate. There are few absolutes and the best that many valuers can do is hunt around for...

The new Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has opened its doors for business and first reports are that trade is brisk. The early signs suggest that referrals to the Legal Ombudsman are running at around 120,000 a year, though the system is capable of handling closer to 165,000 a year. The new structure replaces both the old Legal Services Ombudsman and the Legal Complaints Service. For the first time one body will be responsible for handling service complaints across the entire legal profession. The...