Perry (Respondent) v Raleys Solicitors (Appellant)
Case ID: UKSC 2017/0092
- Where a solicitor negligently fails to advise a client of a potential claim against a third party, and where that client then brings a claim against the solicitor, seeking damages for the lost opportunity to pursue the former claim: must the client prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the former claim would have been an honest claim?
- In which circumstances should an appellate court interfere with a trial judge’s findings of fact?
Mr Perry had worked as a miner between 1966 and 1994. He developed a condition known as Vibration White Finger ("VWF") as a result of using vibratory tools at work. In 1996 Mr Perry instructed Raleys Solicitors ("Raleys") to pursue a claim for damages against the Department for Transport and Industry ("DTI"), which had assumed the liabilities of Mr Perry’s former employers.
In 1999 the DTI established a compensation scheme for miners suffering from VWF. Mr Perry’s claim was thereafter pursued within that scheme. In 1999 Mr Perry accepted the DTI’s offer to settle his claim. The settlement sum was calculated without reference to the cost of day-to-day assistance which Mr Perry required as a result of his VWF. In 2000 the scheme was amended, establishing a new mechanism for the assessment and determination of claims in respect of such assistance ("Services Claims").
In 2009 Mr Perry issued a claim against Raleys, seeking damages and alleging that Raleys had negligently failed to advise him of the possibility of pursuing a Services Claim. At trial Raleys admitted negligence but argued that their negligence had not caused Mr Perry any loss. The trial judge accepted that argument, having found that Mr Perry had not been in a position to pursue a successful Services Claim honestly. Mr Perry’s claim against Raleys was dismissed.
The Court of Appeal allowed Mr Perry’s appeal, holding that: (1) the trial judge was wrong in his analysis of whether Raleys had caused Mr Perry any loss and (2) the trial judge made various errors in considering the evidence, leading him to find incorrectly that Mr Perry had been ineligible to pursue a Services Claim.
Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs
Hearing start date
27 Nov 2018
Hearing finish date
27 Nov 2018