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Advising sophisticated clients revisited

The decision in Healey suggests once again that the courts are prepared to consider the scope of the solicitor's duty on a case-by-case basis, write Phil Murrin and Mark Healing

29 July 2016

Solicitors and insurers will welcome the recent case of Healey & another v Shoosmiths [2016] EWHC 1723 (QB), which involved the scope of a solicitor's duty to a sophisticated businessman client.

The claimant, Mr Healey, wished to buy a 60-metre 'superyacht' which would be built by a shipyard, Benetti. Shoosmiths were instructed, via Healey's yacht broker, to advise him.

Healey signed the build contract, but defaulted on the first scheduled payment. Benetti terminated the contract and obtained summary judgment against Healey in the sum of €7,100,000, enforcing the contract's liquidated damages provisions (decision reported at Azimut-Benetti Spa (Benetti Division) v Healey [2010] EWHC 2234 (Comm)). Healey obtained permission to appeal, before settling with Benetti in the sum of €2,250,000.

Healey later issued proceedings against Shoosmit...

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