||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 399 (Jul)
||Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Aldous, Sedley and Arden LJJ
||Stephen Davies (instructed by Nexus Solicitors, Manchester) for the claimants.
||Gordon Nurse (instructed by James Chapman & Co, Manchester) for the defendant.
||27 July 2001
Solicitor - Negligence - Duty to exercise reasonable skill and care - Defendant solicitor acting for claimant regarding transfer of land containing restrictive covenant - Defendant confirming that claimant's proposed development not infringing covenant - Risk of litigation - Claimant amending design of proposed development to avoid infringement - Judge finding defendant not negligent in construction of covenant - Whether judge in error - Whether real scope for dispute over meaning of covenant.
Where there had been real scope for dispute over the meaning of the restrictive covenant, and the defendant solicitor had clearly known about the potential litigation that might ensue over the effect of the covenant, it had been for the defendant to point out to the claimant that there was a risk that the claimant's proposed development might be in breach of that covenant. Where the defendant had failed to give such a warning to the claimant, he had fallen below the standard of a reasonably competent solicitor and the judge had been wrong to conclude that he had not been negligent.
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