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Sollitt v D.J. Broady Ltd

2 November 2001
The issues

Gale -v- Superdrug – admissions – attempts to resile from admissions.

The facts

The Claimant in 1994 was injured when he was hit by the bucket of an excavator owned by the First Defendant DJ Brody Limited. They denied liability. The Defence admitted the accident and employment, but neither denied nor admitted negligence, causation and loss and damage. Subsequently, by letter the Solicitors admitted liability. Subsequently, statements were prepared and exchanged. As a result of those investigations, an application was made for DJ Brody Limited to be replaced by TD Brody Investments Limited as Defendant. The Application was refused. The Defendant appealed.

The decision

1. In law liability lay with the Second Defendant TD Brody Investments.

2. The Solicitors made the admission of liability following instructions from Insurers and therefore were authorised to make that admission. If they did not have actual authority, they had ostensible authority.

3. The Defendants relied on Gale -v- Superdrug Stores Plc, arguing that an admission made by mistake could be withdrawn if there was no prejudice. That decision lay down valuable guidance as to how a discretion was to be exercised, but no principle of law was laid down. However, it was right that there was a need to look at the prejudice which each party suffered. Bearing in mind the respective prejudices as against Claimant and Defendant, and whilst the Judge below had not performed a balancing exercise, it was clear that had he done so, he would have come to the same conclusion.

Appeal dismissed

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