Accountants: Scope of duty - Referral to specialist
Published 27 March 2014
This Court of Appeal's decision will be of interest to the Professional Indemnity community. The decision at first instance was controversial in a number respects including some of the findings of fact found in favour of the claimant, the costs of the claimant, which by the conclusion of trial were in the region of £5m (in respect of a circa £800,000 claim) and, most importantly, the finding of mixed law and fact to the effect that a generalist tax adviser (in the particular circumstances of this case) owed a duty to refer its client to a specialist tax adviser.
The Court of Appeal judgment neatly sidesteps many of the causation, remoteness and duty of care issues raised on the appeal by finding, in favour of the defendants/appellants, that the scope of duty of care did not extend to advising the claimant to seek specialist tax advice.