The recent case of Gladman Commercial Properties (GCP) v Fisher Hargreaves Proctor and others (FHP) delivered in January 2013 serves as a useful reminder to both lawyers and surveyors of the difficulties they can encounter in their professional practices, and the need for a claimant to take particular care when considering a claim for damages against one or more of a number of potential defendants.
Should a breach of trust end a commercial agency agreement?
Under Regulation 3 of the Commercial Agents Council Directive Regulations 1993 (“the Regulations”) commercial agents owe fiduciary duties to their principals, including a duty to act dutifully and in good faith.
Another case on the extent of a solicitor’s retainer highlights the need for clients to carefully consider what it is their solicitors have been asked to do. Clients should not assume that a new instruction carries an implied brief that the solicitor should automatically review old advice and old drafting on work that may have since become outdated because of legislative changes and development in the law.
The Court of Appeal has given a claimant another chance to prove its claim for professional negligence by ordering a retrial after warning that the trial judge was wrong to find that the solicitors were not in breach of duty after hearing just the claimant’s evidence at the initial trial.
The Court of Appeal has set the bar high with respect to the duties that surveyors owe to their clients – even when they believe that their retainer has been terminated due to non payment of a bill. This bar could lead to more professional negligence claims against surveyors and other professionals.
The developer claimant in Point West London Limited v Mivan Limited  found itself in the unfortunate position of trying to argue that a settlement agreement it had entered did not include a full and final settlement of its claim. It wanted a second bite at the cherry and so sought a declaration from the High Court that it was entitled to do so.
By now one would have expected that every part of Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules would have been examined by the court. However, in the case of PHI Group Limited v Robert West Consulting Limited  the Court of Appeal was required to consider the effect of a purported Part 36 offer which failed to specify a period of not less than 21 days within which the defendant would be liable for the claimant’s costs if the offer was accepted.
The tale of the out of date ketchup and the £84,000 mousse…
The recent case of Compass Group UK and Ireland Limited (t/a Medirest) v Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust  provides a useful reminder of duties to co-operate in good faith in long term services contracts.
In a recent article we considered mediation and the court’s ability to impose sanctions against a party it considered had unreasonably refused to mediate. In the recent case of Swain Mason v Mills & Reeve  the Court of Appeal has considered the question again and in this case overruled the trial judge’s decision to penalise the successful party for refusing to mediate.