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    Buying a property or investing in a business premises is a major commitment and often requires the services of professionals to help you ensure you are making the wisest investment possible. If that advice falls short of a reasonable level of competence and you suffer financial loss as a result you may be able to make a claim for damages.   At Healys we are experts in dealing with Professional Negligence Claims Against Surveyors and Valuers, we offer free initial advice regarding your claim and if you do wish to proceed we offer a “No Win No Fee” service in the form of a Conditional Fee Agreement.

    Approached Healys after having struggled with a difficult litigation situation for some time. Robert grasped all of the issues in no time and set to work, applying his sharp mind and deep knowledge of legal issues, enhancing my own case and importantly providing peace of mind. Having dealt with a number of legal professionals on this case, I found Robert to be head and shoulders above the rest and would not hesitate in recommending him.

    Making a successful negligence claim against a valuer or surveyor can a be complex process and will require the advice of a suitably qualified and experienced professional negligence solicitor.

    Professional Negligence Claims Against Surveyors and Valuers, Proving Negligence

    There are a number of aspects which will be necessary to prove in any negligence claim against a valuer or surveyor, but, assuming the professional giving the valuation owed the client a duty of care, most cases will be decided on one or more of the following factors:

    • Did the valuation reasonably take into account changing market conditions?
    • Did it note apparent defects in the property?
    • Did the valuation take into account factors that would be noticed by a competent professional?
    We engaged Robert in relation to our professional negligence/breach of contract claim against a renowned bank and valuer.  Robert is a very experienced commercial litigator and is handling our claim in a very professional and efficient manner.  He always provides us with concise and timely advice at every stage which has allowed us to make informed decisions regarding our claim.  We always feel that we are kept fully informed of all aspects of our claim and Robert is always willing and available to clarify matters over the phone if need be.  We have no hesitation in recommending Robert to anyone who is looking for a solicitor who will conduct their professional negligence or breach of contract dispute in an efficient, professional and effective manner which we are confident will lead to us achieving the best possible result.
    Hilary West

    The case for damages

    In the event that one, or indeed all, of the above are proven, the chances of success in a negligence claim are good, but by no means guaranteed.

    This is because it is still incumbent on the claimant to prove that the valuation caused financial loss as a result of the faulty valuation or survey. Without this loss, there is no obligation for the defendant to pay compensation.

    Professional Negligence Claims Against Surveyors and Valuers, methodology and the margin of error

    In the case of K/S Lincoln and others v CB Richard Ellis Hotels Limited [2010] EWHC 1156 (TCC), Mr Justice Coulson ruled that the methodology used by a valuer or surveyor could have no bearing on the future of any negligence ruling. Instead, he determined, what matters is whether the final valuation falls within the accepted margin of error.

    This ruling clarified that of an earlier case, Singer & Friedlander v. John D Wood & Co [1977] 2 EGLR 84, in which the judge stated:
    “The valuation of land by trained, competent and careful professional men is a task which rarely, if ever, admits of precise conclusion. Often beyond certain well-founded facts so many imponderables confront the valuer that he is obliged to proceed on the basis of assumptions. Therefore he cannot be faulted for achieving a result which does not admit of some degree of error. Thus, two able and experienced men, each confronted with the same task, might come to different conclusions without anyone being justified in saying that either of them has lacked competence and reasonable care, still less integrity, in doing his work.

    “Any valuation that falls outside the permissible margin of error brings into question the competence of the valuer and the sort of care he gave to the task of valuation.”

    I required the services of a London law firm after being let down by my previous advisors. Fortunately I was put in touch with Robert Johnson at Healys. I came away from my first meeting with Robert feeling enormously reassured and not to mention relieved, that my case was now back on track. The most impressive aspect of Robert’s work on my case was his communication throughout. He was always available when I needed to speak with him and would often get in touch to provide detailed updates. Robert listened to me and fought for my case at an extremely difficult time for me. I have enormous respect for Robert Johnson and would recommend him without question.

    Acceptable margins of error

    According to the Coulson ruling, in all but the most exceptional of cases, the following thresholds of margin of error apply:

    • For a standard residential property as low as plus or minus 5%
    • For a “one-off” property, plus or minus 10%
    • For a property with “exceptional features”, plus or minus 15%, or, potentially, even higher in an appropriate case

    Professional Negligence Claims Against Surveyors and Valuers in Brighton and London

    Has a surveyor or valuer provided you with a valuation that falls below the accepted standards of competency for a professional? If so, and you have suffered significant financial loss as a result, you may be entitled to receive compensation.

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    Call our London office on 020 7822 4000 or our Brighton office on 01273 685 888. You can also contact us online.
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    • Our client, a property developer was in the process of obtaining a property. The case involved two law firms that acted for the buyer & seller. After the transaction was complete, the client discovered that the seller had committed identity fraud and lost a considerable amount of money. Issues included breach of warranty of authority and breach of trust on the part of the solicitors who acted on behalf of the fraudster; the scope of the duty of care of the firm acting on behalf of our clients and whether the clients’ consequential loss of profit was recoverable at law. Our client decided to contact Jerome O’Sullivan and Healys’ Professional Negligence team in order to make a claim. Solicitors’ legal obligations in such circumstances are unclear and this matter may lead to clarification of the law in this regard. The team, led by Jerome O’Sullivan was able to successfully make a claim against the two firms for £1.5million.
    • Our client divorced with his wife and asked his former solicitors to take on his case. After completing procedures, he realised that the law firm had not protected his interests & assets. His wife dissipated all the assets leaving him very surprised and unsatisfied by the service that they had provided. Our client decided to contact Robert Johnson and Healys’ Professional Negligence team in order to make a claim. Robert Johnson and the Healys Family team acted extremely promptly to guarantee our client a success in his claim. They were able to successfully make a claim in the sum of £50,000 for failure in acting for our client’s best interests.
    • Our client’s claim arose out of the failings of her former solicitors to deal with her divorce. This included the dissipation of assets held by the husband in Hong Kong by way of freezing orders. The claim focused on conflicting evidence between the client and husbands solicitor. After lengthy negotiations with the other side, Robert Johnson was able to secure the client £650,000 in compensation.
    • Our client had a previous claim with another law firm in relation to his property being undervalued when sold. Unfortunately our client received poor advice from the previous law firm which resulted in him loosing the initial claim against the mortgagee and valuer. Robert Johnson was able to successfully make a claim against the previous law firm for loss in opportunity. After lengthy mediation with the other side, Robert was able to secure our client £800,000 in compensation.
    • Our client needed advice regarding an Under-Lease, and so they approached a firm about their issue. However, our client soon realised that the firm had given incorrect advice. He decided to contact Healys in order to make a claim against the law firm for failure to advise properly in relation to the purchase of an under-lease, the terms of that under lease, the status of the head lessee and rental payment terms. The team, led by Robert Johnson was able to successfully make a claim for £150,000 against the firm.
    • Our client decided to make a claim against their former solicitor in respect of the failure to advise properly with regard to rights of appointment of LPA Receivers leading to the adoption of the wrong strategy, appointment of receivers and subsequent losses. The team, led by Robert Johnson was able to successfully make a claim against the firm for £4 million in failing to advise on the risks of the strategy.
    • Our client instructed a firm of solicitors to deal with a claim in regard to his former employer. He was unfortunately unaware that the firm he instructed was in financial difficulty. Subsequently the firm went into liquidation. This lead to the solicitor dealing with the case to be negligent towards our client’s case. The team, led by Robert Johnson was able to successfully make a claim for £200,000 against the firm for failure in treating our clients claim with due care and diligence. Nick Evans, our employment law expert, also took part at the claim. We acted for the client under a CFA and since the case the firm in question has been dissolved.
    • The client’s wife was involved in an RTA which led to a claim on the client’s insurance. The insurer instructed a solicitor in the client’s name to commence proceedings to recover the insurer’s losses from the other party involved in the RTA. The solicitor negligently allowed a judgement in default to be entered on a counterclaim against our client. The client was unaware of the judgement until he applied for a mortgage some 15 months later. As a result our client suffered numerous heads of losses including increased mortgage costs and potential loss of earnings because of his job as a police officer. The case was led by Ben Parr-Ferris who made a claim against the solicitor for negligently allowing the judgement on his wife’s RTA insurance claim. The aim of Ben and his team was to safeguard the client’s career and make sure the judgement does not affect his progression. A number of negotiations were attempt with the insurer in order to revert the decision made by the solicitor as an insurer debt. However, both of them failed. Although the team were able to get assurances from our client’s employer that the judgement should not impact the client career in any way. The solicitor has since accepted liability and Ben Parr-Ferris was able to secure our client £30,000 in compensation.
    • While in the process of buying their new home, our clients contacted Property Survey Company in order to complete the required checks on their potential new property. The Property Survey Company completed all the checks and informed our clients that no defects were found. Unfortunately after purchasing the property our clients noticed a number of defects in the property and after getting a second opinion it was found that the original survey was incorrect. The team was able to successfully make claim against the property surveyor as they failed to provide our clients with the survey they asked for but also they failed to identify certain defects in the property. Robert and the team were able to secure £50,000 in compensation for our clients in an out of court settlement.
    • Our client had a significant property portfolio. She found out that a number of her properties had been sold without her knowledge under her ex-husbands name. The properties in question were equally owned by our client and her ex-husband, so no sale should have taken place without her knowledge. After instructing a number of expert witnesses that included a hand writing expert, it was found that the property was unlawfully sold. With this information, Robert Johnson and the Professional Negligence team at Healys was able to secure £750,000 in compensation after lengthy mediation with the other side.
    Negligence Surveyors and Valuers insights
    Negligence Surveyors and Valuers awards
    • Chambers & Partners 2021 : Professional Negligence – "Robert Johnson has considerable expertise representing individuals in negligence claims against solicitors, accountants and real estate agencies. ‘He has excellent analytical skills, strong commitment to his clients and commercial astuteness.‘ ‘He is very easy to work with and always available to respond to any queries.‘ ‘He is able to describe complex details in layperson’s terms while guiding clients through the legal details of the case.'”
    • Legal 500 2021 : Professional Negligence - "Healys LLP ‘compares very favourably with other larger law firms’ in advising individuals and companies on claims against a range of professions. In recent years, the practice has primarily acted against solicitors, though practice head Robert Johnson has a ‘wealth of experience’ in advising on claims involving barristers, architects, surveyors, financial advisers and accountants. David Bailey handles large group claims and fraud issues."
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