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Chappell v Somers & Blake (a firm) [2003] EWHC 1644 (Ch)

Professional Conduct - Solicitors - Claimant appointed as sole executrix - Claimant instructed defendant to act on her behalf in administration of deceased’s estate - Claimant contended that defendant did nothing - Claimant entitled to claim damages for negligence from defendant even though loss suffered by beneficiary of will - At time of loss property vested with claimant

10 October 2003

The deceased died on 24 December 1995. By her will the claimant (C) was appointed as her sole executrix and two properties were bequeathed to a church (the PCC). C instructed the defendant solicitors (SB) to act on her behalf in the administration of the deceased’s estate. C claimed that between 1996 and 2001, when SB were disinstructed, they did “absolutely nothing”. This resulted in the two properties remaining empty for roughly five years. C was granted probate in 2001 and was only then able to distribute the estate in accordance with the will. C claimed against SB for the loss of income from the two properties during those five years on the basis that, had SB acted in accordance with their duty, the properties would have been assented to the PCC by July 1997 at the latest who would have benefited from the income. SB applied to strike out the claim on the grounds that any alleged loss must have been suffered by the PCC and not C. The judge accepted this argument but refused to...

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