Extent of valuers’ liability
Extent of valuers’ liability

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Extent of valuers’ liability
  • Margin of error
  • Damages
  • Contributory negligence
  • Limitations on liability—exclusions and restrictions

A valuer estimates or assesses the worth or value of, or fixes a price for, a property. This note does not cover the liability of a valuer acting as an arbitrator.

Margin of error

Valuation is not an exact science. A valuer is not guilty of negligence simply because another valuer produces a different answer, nor because his valuation turns out to be wrong. A valuation is negligent if it is outside a margin of error. The court decides on the range of reasonably competent valuations. If the valuation is within the margin, it is not negligent even if the valuation process fell below reasonably competent standards.

In Barclays v TBS, Dove J confirmed that because a valuer cannot be faulted for achieving a result that does not admit some degree of error, the first question is whether the valuation, as a figure, falls outside the range permitted to a non-negligent valuer. In practical terms, therefore, the approach is a staged process of analysis:

  1. first, the court must form its own view, based on the evidence before it and its own evaluation, of the correct value as at the valuation date applying professional practice standards which applied at that date

  2. second, having formed its own view, the court will then have to consider what the appropriate margin of error applicable to