Joyce v Darby & Darby [2014] EWCA Civ 677

21 May 2014

Guy was instructed by WBW Solicitors in the case of Joyce v Darby & Darby [2014] EWCA Civ 677, in which a reserved judgment was handed down on 19th May 2014 in the Court of Appeal. Guy acted for the claimant in this professional negligence case, arising out of negligent conveyancing in relation to the purchase of a property by Ms Joyce and the subsequent negligence of her solicitor in trying to sort the matter out himself, when he should have appreciated that there was a conflict of interest.

Ms Joyce suffered considerable losses after she found herself in a dispute with her neighbour over works she was carrying out at the property. The dispute led to injunctive proceedings being taken against her and eventually the property was repossessed and sold by her mortgagee. Guy succeeded at first instance in obtaining judgment for very substantial consequential losses. The appeal by the defendant solicitors raised issues of causation, forseeability and the extent of the responsibilities assumed by the firm. The appeal was successful in part. Longmore LJ dissented from Rimer and Tomlinson LJJ in respect of the recoverability of one head of damages. The case has been remitted to the judge to assess the outstanding heads of damages, in respect of which the claim exceeds £200,000, namely diminution in value of the property and the cost of works carried out to the property.