Professional Negligence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell & Company
    • House of Lords
    • 02 Nov 1978

    No matter what profession it may be, the common law does not impose on those who practise it any liability for damage resulting from what in the result turn out to have been errors of judgment, unless the error was such as no reasonably well-informed and competent member of that profession could have made. So too the common law makes allowance for the difficulties in the circumstances in which professional judgments have to be made and acted upon.

  • Preiss v General Dental Council
    • Privy Council
    • 17 Jul 2001

    It is settled that serious professional misconduct does not require moral turpitude. Something more is required than a degree of negligence enough to give rise to civil liability but not calling for the opprobrium that inevitably attaches to the disciplinary offence. The core and most serious shortcoming was summarised by the PCC as failure to ensure that the state of the patient's oral health was appropriate in view of the ambitious treatment plan.

  • Pantelli Associates Ltd v Corporate City Developments Number Two Ltd
    • Queen's Bench Division (Technology and Construction Court)
    • 02 Dic 2010

    That is a matter of common sense: how can it be asserted that act x was something that an ordinary professional would and should not have done, if no professional in the same field had expressed such a view?

  • Nykredit Mortgage Bank Plc v Edward Erdman Group Ltd (No 2)
    • House of Lords
    • 27 Nov 1997

    Thus, typically in the case of a negligent valuation of an intended loan security, the basic comparison called for is between (a) the amount of money lent by the plaintiff, which he would still have had in the absence of the loan transaction, plus interest at a proper rate, and (b) the value of the rights acquired, namely the borrower's covenant and the true value of the overvalued property.

  • Maynard v West Midlands Regional Health Authority
    • House of Lords
    • 05 May 1983

    I would only add that a doctor who professes to exercise a special skill must exercise the ordinary skill of his speciality. Differences of opinion and practice exist, and will always exist, in the medical as in other professions. There is seldom any one answer exclusive of all others to problems of professional judgment. A court may prefer one body of opinion to the other: but that is no basis for a conclusion of negligence.

    My Lords, even before considering the reasons given by the majority of the Court of Appeal for reversing the findings of negligence, I have to say that a judge's "preference" for one body of distinguished professional opinion to another also professionally distinguished is not sufficient to establish negligence in a practitioner whose actions have received the seal of approval of those whose opinions, truthfully expressed, honestly held.

  • Haward and Others v Fawcetts (A Firm) and Another
    • House of Lords
    • 01 Mar 2006

    It means knowing with sufficient confidence to justify embarking on the preliminaries to the issue of a writ, such as submitting a claim to the proposed defendant, taking advice, and collecting evidence: 'suspicion, particularly if it is vague and unsupported, will indeed not be enough, but reasonable belief will normally suffice'. In other words, the claimant must know enough for it to be reasonable to begin to investigate further.

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