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Standard of care

Eleanor Kilner considers a recent case that highlights the importance of the factual matrix and context in professional negligence claims

15 March 2016

The recent case of Dunhill v W Brook & Co and Crossley [2016] EWHC 165 (QB) provides helpful guidance on the standard of care when assessing cases and advising clients.

In 1999, the claimant, Ms Dunhill, sustained injuries as a result of being knocked over by a motorbike. She pursued the motorcyclist for damages and was represented by solicitors, W Brook & Co, and counsel, Mr Crossley. On the morning of the trial, the key witness in support of the claimant's case was not in attendance. Crossley advised the claimant to settle the claim for £12,500 plus costs. The trial was attended by a trainee from the first defendant firm, who was unable to advise and followed counsel's advice.

The claimant then reopened the litigation on the basis that she lacked the required mental capacity to consent to a settlement. The case was allowed to proceed to trial. Baroness Hale described the...

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