- £3.7m claim results in £2,000 payment—the importance of causation (BPN & NPS v Canham)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Construction analysis: This case involved a claim for professional negligence arising from defective foundation designs for two separate terraced housing blocks. Although it was accepted in expert evidence that the designs were negligent in some respects, the case centered on causation and whether the negligent designs actually caused the decision to demolish and rebuild the blocks. The judge held that, in a claim for £3.7m, the claimants were only entitled to £2,000, that being the cost of remedial works to the foundations that were started but interrupted by the decision to demolish and rebuild. The case highlights the importance of factual evidence in demonstrating causation, even where there is an admission in respect of negligence and breach of contract. The case also contains some useful comments from the judge in respect of reliability of expert evidence, a reminder for parties to consider using the professional negligence adjudication scheme, and a decision on whether a contractor’s shareholder is owed a duty in tort by the contractor’s engaged engineer. Written by Michael Wright, associate at Dentons UK & Middle East LLP.
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