Q&As

What authority determines and regulates the liability of a local authority in negligence where they have given incorrect replies to enquiries raised prior to the purchase of a property?

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Produced in partnership with Adam Heppinstall of Henderson Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 19/01/2018

The following Property Q&A produced in partnership with Adam Heppinstall of Henderson Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What authority determines and regulates the liability of a local authority in negligence where they have given incorrect replies to enquiries raised prior to the purchase of a property?

What authority determines and regulates the liability of a local authority in negligence where they have given incorrect replies to enquiries raised prior to the purchase of a property?

Much will depend on what type of enquiry and reply and whether the local authority has successfully excluded liability as part of the terms of the service. There is an authority which confirms that a local authority can be liable. A good example is the case of Chesterton Commercial (Oxon) Ltd v Oxfordshire County Council in which the Council failed to disclose an ongoing investigation as to whether a part of the property to be purchased was a highway maintainable at public expense, in fact the reply stated that it was not. Under section 36 of the Highways Act 1980, local authorities are required to create and maintain a list of highways maintainable at public expense in their area. The local authority had not kept this list up to date and had not disclosed the investigation which it had been carrying out in respect of the property and as a result, the local authority search result indicated that parking spaces were not part of the highway but were private land capable of being used and sold.

Catherine Newman QC, sitting as a Deputy

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