Special duty problems: economic loss

Economic loss cases don’t come along that often – but we do have comment on some fairly recent ones to pique your attention!

David Hart QC, ‘When a duty of care does arise in tort – suing Companies House’, UK Human Rights Blog, 8 February 2015

 ‘CA adds extra negligence finding and £375k damages on top of High Court’s £1.6m Withers ruling’

Scope of Duty to give Advice
BPE Solicitors & Anor v Hughes-Holland (in substitution for Gabriel) [2017] UKSC 21 (22 March 2017) http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2017/21.html .
The case involves a detailed analysis of the SAAMCO principles relating to liability for economic loss caused by careless advice, and where liability stops when the loss which has been suffered is attributable to other factors than the careless advice.

Supreme Court clarifies distinction between 'advice' and 'information' negligence cases https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2017/march/supreme-court-clarifies-distinction-between-advice-and-information-negligence-cases/

And an interesting one:

The Court of Appeal dealt with “the novel question whether a supplier of information to the police, which led to a criminal investigation, was owed a contractual or tortious duty by the police to exercise reasonable care in the conduct of the investigation so as to safeguard him from economic loss”. The claims in contract and negligence were dismissed at first instance, and the Court of Appeal upheld the rejection of the claim:
An Informer v A Chief Constable [2012] EWCA Civ 197 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/197.html

Comments on earlier cases

‘Economic Loss After Robinson v Jones

A short article on the webpage of the Society of Construction Law discussing the potential implications of the case:

See also the casenote downloadable from the Kings’ Chambers website at http://www.kingschambers.com/news/latest/significant_court_of_appeal_judgment_on_concurrent_liability_in_contra/

‘Recoverability of economic loss in negligence’
Jane Hughes writes about Conarken Group Limited and Farrell Transport Limited v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited [2011], in which the Court of Appeal considered the question of the recoverability of economic loss in terms of negligence:

On the same case, see ‘Network Rail recovers over £1m for financial loss as a result of damage to the railways’ http://www.addleshawgoddard.com/view.asp?content_id=5730&parent_id=3865

In the wake of one of the largest and most complicated cases on pure economic loss, Henderson v Merrett Syndicates Ltd [1995], some of those who incurred the economic losses continue to fight the battle:

Lloyd's Names face bankruptcy as court battle ends

The most recent ruling on this came in July 2009:

Lloyd's Names ruling means Stevenson's work is done, The Observer, 5 July 2009

‘Economic loss and complex structures’
A short practitioner-written essay discussing (and explaining) some aspects of liability for economic loss, particularly in respect of construction contracts:

Catherine Baksi ‘Expert witnesses lose 400-year-old immunity’ Law Society Gazette (30 March 2011)
A short article discussion the seven-member Supreme Court case Jones v Kaney [2011] (see section 7.3, p.176)

Also see ‘Case Comment: Jones v Kaney [2011] UKSC 13’ from the UK Supreme Court blog, written by Clare Montgomery QC of Matrix Chambers

Caparo Industries
For interest: a global - still-thriving - company, founded and chaired by Lord Paul of Marylebone.


Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller and Partners [1963]

Spartan Steel & Alloys Ltd v Martin & Co (Contractors) Ltd [1973]

Esso Petroleum Co Ltd v Mardon [1976]

Anns v Merton London Borough Council [1978]

Junior Books Ltd v Veitchi Co Ltd [1983]

Murphy v Brentwood District Council [1990]

Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990]

Smith v Eric S Bush [1990]

White v Jones [1995]

Spring v Guardian Assurance [1995]

Customs & Excise Commissioners v Barclays Bank [2006]

Robinson v PE Jones (Contractors) Ltd [2011]

Conarken Group Ltd & Anor v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (Rev 1) [2011]

Scullion v Bank of Scotland plc (trading as Colleys) [2011]

Sebry v Companies House the Registrar of Companies (Rev 1) [2015]

Taberna Europe CDO II Plc v Selskabet AF 1.September 2008 in Bankruptcy [2016] EWCA Civ 1262

BPE Solicitors & Anor v Hughes-Holland (in substitution for Gabriel) [2017] UKSC 21

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