Hamlin and Another v Edwin Evans (A Firm)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date04 July 1996
Date04 July 1996

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Neill, Lord Justice Simon Brown and Lord Justice Waite

Hamlin and Another
and
Edwin Evans (a Firm)

Limitation of actions - negligence - single cause of action from survey

Single cause of action in negligent survey

Where the tort complained of was negligence by error or omission in a survey, there could only be one cause of action which accrued when damage was suffered. It made no difference whether the damage was multiple or single and whether, in the case of the former, it came to light at varying points of time with varying degrees of gravity.

The Court of Appeal so held in a reserved judgment in dismissing an appeal brought by the plaintiffs, John Stephen Hamlin and Teresa Helen Hamlin from the decision of Mr Justice Maurice Kay on February 16, 1995 that their negligence claim against the surveyors, Edwin Evans, on whose report they had relied at the time of the purchase of their home, was statute barred under section 14A of the Limitation Act 1980, as inserted by the Latent Damage Act 1986.

Mr Jonathan Lurie for the plaintiffs; Mr Stephen Powell, QC, for the surveyors.

LORD JUSTICE WAITE said that the plaintiffs' claim was based on two heads of negligent omission in one survey report namely: (i) a failure to report on dry rot and (ii) structural defects.

The consequences of the two failures became apparent at different times. The dry rot was discovered first, and was the subject of a relatively minor claim notified to the surveyors and settled.

The structural defects were not discovered until some time after the date of the compromise. They cost a great deal more to remedy and were the subject of a writ issued about two years after their discovery. By then more than eight years had passed from the date of the report and six years from the date of the discovery of the dry rot.

On the trial of a preliminary issue of limitation, the judge ruled that time ran against the plaintiffs from the date of their knowledge of the surveyors' negligence regarding the dry rot and the writ regarding the structural defects had accordingly been issued outside the limitation period.

The note in The Supreme Court Practice 1995 (volume 2, p1879, paragraph 6152) cited two decisions, neither of which was binding on the judge but which he nevertheless rightly considered since they were not only relevant but in conflict with each other.

In Horbury v Craig Hall & Rutley ([1991] EGCS 81) Judge Bowsher, QC, sitting as an...

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16 cases
  • Prosperland Pte Ltd v Civic Construction Pte Ltd and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 29 July 2004
    ...1 AC 518 (refd) Dunlop v Lambert (1839) 6 Cl & F 600; 7 ER 824 (refd) Halford v Brookes [1991] 1 WLR 428 (folld) Hamlin v Edwin Evans [1996] 2 EGLR 106 (folld) Heathcote v David Marks & Co [1996] 3 EG 128 (refd) Higgins v Hatch & Fielding [1996] 1 EGLR 133 (folld) Letang v Cooper [1965] 1 Q......
  • Eagle v Redlime Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 4 April 2011
    ...him from that earlier period. On behalf of Mr Eagle, Mr Flood submits that the present case is distinguishable from Hamlin v Edwin Eames [1996] PNLR 398. That authority related to a negligent surveyor's report where the claimant had knowledge of the negligence through the emergence of minor......
  • Shore v Sedgwick Financial Services Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 20 December 2007
    ...is discovered. This is so even though other more serious damage is sustained and discovered at a later date: see Hamlin v Edwin Evans [1996] PNLR 398 and Oakes v Hopcroft [2000] Lloyds Rep BN 946 at 948. 233 (d) The present case: By 15 December 1999 Mr. Shore knew that there had been a subs......
  • Shore v Sedgwick Financial Services Ltd
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 23 July 2008
    ... ... in First National Commercial Bank Plc v Humberts (a firm) [1995] 2 All ER 673 , a decision referred to with ... or evidential reason to select one date rather than another for the purposes of conducting the comparison. The judge ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Litigation
    • United Kingdom
    • Construction Law. Volume III - Third Edition
    • 13 April 2020
    ...Sackar J; Owners – Strata Plan No. 70030 v Decon Australia Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 19 at [16], per McDougall J. 1381 Hamlin v Edwin Evans [1996] PNLR 398; Stock v London Underground Ltd [1999] EWCA Civ 2058; Honeywood v Munnings [2006] NSWCA 215 at [14]–[15], per Handley JA; Winnote Pty Ltd v ......

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