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damages awarded for negligent valuation

16 September 2011

The Commercial Court last week in Capita AFS (Guernsey) Ltd v Drivers Jonas ruled against the defendant firm of valuers, awarding damages of £18.05m.

Drivers Jonas were found to have negligently over-stated the commercial prospects and value of a factory outlet shopping centre in Kent.

One of the salutary warnings to emerge from the decision is that professionals are likely to be in breach of duty if they take on jobs beyond their capability or experience. In this case, the Judge gave very short shrift to the valuers’ protests that (1) the client knew all about the defendants’ lack of expertise in any event and (2) there was scope to acquire the necessary experience ‘on the job’.

What the valuers should have done – at the outset – was decline to act (or at least advise that the necessary expertise be commissioned from elsewhere!)

Drivers Jonas’ PI insurers are understood to be looking at an appeal in this matter.

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