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Lexi Holdings plc (in administration) v. (1) DTZ; (2) Mace & Jones

[2010] EWHC 2290 (Ch)

Court: High Court
Date of Judgment: 29.07.10

In a professional negligence claim brought by a mortgagee, the Defendants (a firm of valuers and a firm of solicitors) applied shortly before trial to amend their Defences to plead illegality.  The Court held that it was arguable that: (i) the Claimant was a one-man company; and (ii) there was sufficient nexus between the loss suffered and the alleged fraud, such that the amendments should be allowed provided that the trial date was not lost.

This is an interesting interlocutory decision of Briggs J in which he considers the effect of the House of Lords' decisions in Gray v. Thames Trains and Stone Rolls Ltd v. Moore Stephens on a proposed illegality defence in a professional negligence claim. In this case the professionals admitted negligence and accepted that the transaction upon which they advised; was genuine, but asserted that the Claimant's entire business was part of a fraudulent scheme.


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