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Professional negligence update

Spike Charlwood reports on recent cases involving issues of limitation, advice on wills and privilege

23 April 2004

When does a cause of action in negligence accrue? What knowledge must a claimant have before time starts to run under s 14A of the Limitation Act 1980 (the Act)? What conduct by a defendant will prevent time from running pursuant to s 32 of the Act? All of these questions are simple to ask, but frequently give rise to real difficulties. Four recent decisions, The Law Society v Sephton & Co (ChD, 06.02.04), Williams v Fanshaw Porter & Hazlehurst [2004] EWCA Civ 157, Haward v Fawcetts (A Firm) [2004] EWCA Civ 240 and Daniels v Thompson [2004] EWCA Civ 307 cast light some of those difficulties. When does a cause of action in negligence accrue? A number of cases last year (see, for example, McCarroll v Statham Gill Davies [2003] EWCA Civ 425 and Polley v Warner Goodman & Streat [2003] PNLR 40) concluded, in a variety of different factual circumstances, that the claimant’s cause of action should be held to have acc...

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