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Solicitors’ liability: An evolving landscape

As the professional indemnity insurance renewal season approaches, Sarah Clover and Ed Cotton examine how key recent case law is shaping the boundaries of solicitors’ liability

19 August 2015

Nearly 20 years after the House of Lords' decision in South Australia Asset Management Corporation v York Montague Ltd (SAAMCo) [1996] UKHL 10, the courts continue to approach questions of limiting liability and recoverable losses by applying the SAAMCo test.

SAAMCo drew a distinction between a duty to provide information for the purpose of allowing a client to decide on a course of action (the information duty) and the duty to advise a client as to what course of action to take (the advice duty). The courts have followed this most recently in the Court of Appeal in Gabriel v Little [2013] EWCA Civ 1513 and the High Court in Credit and Mercantile v Nabarro [2014] EWHC 2819 (Ch).

In Gabriel, the claimant provided a property developer with a loan to be secured on a building. The money was intended for building works but was instead used to purchase the property and pay off other loans secured...

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