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Update: professional negligence

Victoria Brackett and Katie Papworth consider a ruling on the duties of valuers, when you can rely on counsel’s advice and settlement without authority

5 September 2011

Valuers’ duties

Following the recent property crash, claims by lenders against valuers are common place, especially in the buy-to-let arena. Whether or not the purchasers of those properties can also bring claims against the valuers instructed by the lenders (along with the effectiveness of valuers’ disclaimers which precludes such claims) was an issue which was addressed by the High Court in Scullion v Bank of Scotland plc (t/a Colleys) [2011] EWCA Civ 693. This decision was appealed by the Court of Appeal on 17 June 2011.

Applying the decision in Smith v Bush [1990] 1 AC 831 (which held that a duty of care was owed by a valuer to a purchaser where a ‘low-value residential property’ was being purchased), Mr Richard Snowden QC held that the purchaser of a buy-to-let property was entitled to rely on the valuation produced by Colleys for the lender because:

1. the property was a small residential property where it ...

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