The recent Court of Appeal judgment in Swain Mason & Others v Mills & Reeve shows that, in professional negligence claims, it is important to be clear on what your case against the solicitor is, particularly in relation to whether in all the circumstances the solicitor’s retainer or duty covers the alleged negligence complained of.
We have previously commented on important decisions in relation to the interpretation of Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules. It seems that the court continues to grapple with question of interpretation of offers to settle made pursuant to Part 36.
The recent case of PGF II SA v (1) OMFS Company (2) Bank of Scotland plc  serves as a timely reminder of the court’s discretion regarding costs following acceptance of a Part 36 offer and the implications of refusing to mediate.
Professional negligence in dealing with expert reports
The recent case of Maria Boyle -v- Thompsons Solicitors has highlighted the care that must be taken in selecting an expert and asking all the material questions not just when instructions are first given but when other evidence appears to conflict with that of the chosen expert.
While implementation of the radical costs reforms recommended by Lord Justice Jackson and comprised in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill are still being debated in Parliament and proposed implementation has been deferred until April 2013. Lord Justice Jackson is preparing to bring in a new reform which would see the introduction of provisional costs assessments. This follows the success of a pilot scheme at Leeds County Court.
The Supreme Court has now finally brought to an end the age-old rule that expert witnesses were immune from proceedings in negligence in relation to the evidence they gave in court or the views they expressed in anticipation of court proceedings.
There has been much publicity in recent times concerning claims against banks for misselling products, but the recent case of Zaki and others –v- Credit Suisse (UK) Ltd  is a good example of the difficulties facing claimants when making such claims, in particular the need to establish not only breach of duty on the part of the financial advisor, but also that loss was caused as a result of the breach of duty.