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Another victory in the long-running VWF professional negligence litigation


Court of Appeal overturns judgment which dismissed the retired miner’s claim against his former solicitors.

Jonathan Watt-Pringle QC was instructed by Mellor Hargreaves on the appeal against the dismissal of the claim on grounds that the appellant had failed to establish causation of loss. In a detailed judgment the Court of Appeal ruled that the judge was wrong to conduct a “trial within a trial” on the issue of causation. Existing CA judgments such as Hanif v Middleweeks and Dixon v Clement Jones established that that approach was wrong in principle. The Court also ruled that this was one of those rare cases where it was appropriate to overrule the judge’s findings of fact, since he could not rationally have reached the conclusion that the appellant and his wife and two sons had all given false evidence.

The appellant was awarded interest at the judgment debt rate of (8%) because he had been kept out of his compensation for so long and “because the conduct of Raleys (or their insurers), in their long drawn-out defence of this claim, deserves appropriate sanction.” That almost doubled the value of the underlying award. In addition, having failed to beat the appeallant’s Part 36, the respondents were ordered to pay indemnity costs, a penalty of an additional 10% of the claimant’s damages, and interest on the costs at 10.25%.

Please click here to view Judgment.

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Professional Negligence




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