Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 148 (Jan)
Neutral Citation: [2002] EWCA Civ 09
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Judge:

Brooke, Hale LJJ and David Steel J

Representation Antony Edwards-Stuart QC and Alexander Nissen (instructed by Kennedys) for the claimants.
  Nicholas Dennys QC and Louise Randall (instructed by Fishburn Morgan Cole) for the defendants.
Judgment Dates: 22 January 2002

Catchwords

Negligence - Duty to take care - Existence of duty - Architect employed to design drainage system for industrial unit - Claimants occupying premises - Flood damage occurring to claimant's premises on two occasions - Whether architect owing duty to take care - Judge finding architect liable for damage from second flood - Whether judge in error - Whether latent defect in architect's design.

The Case

In the commercial context, a defect would not be latent if it had been reasonably discoverable by a claimant with the benefit of such skilled third party advice as he might reasonably be expected to retain, whether or not that required diligence was in fact exercised. In the instant case, the judge had been right to find that there was no duty of care in respect of flood damage caused by the absence of overflows in a drainage system designed by the first defendant, as the only effective cause of both floods was the absence of overflows, which was a defect that ought reasonably to have been identified and remedied by the claimants.

Practice Areas

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