2 May 2014 by

All will be lost, if you cannot evidence breach caused your loss

In a recently decided case the Technology and Construction Court provided a timely reminder to claimants in professional negligence actions of the evidential burden a claimant faces when seeking to prove that breach of contractual duty has in fact caused the loss suffered.

Professional negligence claims have become a lot more commonplace in recent years and are most frequently brought against professionals in the fields of accountancy, surveying, architecture and, dare I say it, legal services. 

In this case, the developer of an apartment block in London appointed a mechanical and electrical engineer to work on the development. As the building work was being completed the apartment block suffered severe water damage. Investigations were undertaken to try and pinpoint the cause of the water damage and it was established that there was a serious fault in the design of the cold water system.

The engineer’s defence was that no reasonable engineer at the time would have foreseen or guarded against the events that occurred.

The court found in favour of the developer, in that the engineer should have foreseen the problem and taken steps to deal with it. The court found that the engineer had breached the contractual duty of care. However, the court also found that the developer had failed to prove that the breach had caused the loss. Consequently, the claim against the engineer failed and was dismissed.

In his judgment the judge said: “Effectively, the claimant is asking the court to make a number of factual assumptions in its favour which were not explored, let alone tested, in evidence or, indeed, properly pleaded and opened”.

The above case does not create new law; however, it does provide a stark reminder to claimants that even in the event that it can be proved that the defendant was in breach of his duty of care, if it cannot be proved that the breach of duty actually caused the loss suffered by the claimant, the claimant’s case will fail.

If you require advice regarding a potential negligence issue or any other litigation contact us on 0207 288 4700 or email us at info@boltburdon.co.uk

16 April 2014 by

Going once…going twice… gone, to the nervous looking chap in the back row!

A bid for a property at auction is accepted upon the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer.  It is at this […]

25 April 2014 by

No building regulation consent? What happens next?

How do you know whether you need to obtain building regulation consent when making changes to your home? This question […]

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.