Cara Guthrie in Dunhill v W Brook & Co
Cara Guthrie, together with Anneliese Day QC, successfully defended a barrister alleged to have negligently under-settled a personal injury claim in the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal declined to interfere with the decision of Elisabeth Laing J. who had exonerated the barrister at first instance.
In a judgment which yet again stresses the constraints of the Court of Appeal in proceedings like these, Sir Brian Leveson P. said in relation to the barrister’s assessment of the liability risk:
“ …In my judgment, to interfere with her conclusion that Mr Crossley was entitled to fear that the case no longer had a 50% prospect of success and could fail in its entirety runs contrary to what is the clear approach to the assessment of a trial judge as set out by Lewison LJ in Fage UK Ltd v Chablani (supra).”
And when considering the barrister’s assessment of quantum:
“ Again, the judge had the responsibility of assessing the overall evidence including the approach of Mr Crossley (with the benefit of the way he responded to lengthy cross examination only in part conveyed by the transcript). Again, the perils of “island hopping” as identified in Fage UK Ltd v Chobani UK Ltd (supra) and imposing this court’s (different) view for her judgment, reached with a far broader appreciation of the circumstances itself of the judgement of Mr Crossley requires us to conclude that his advice was “blatantly wrong”: see VG v Denise Kingsmill (supra). Only with the benefit of hindsight can that be said to have been so. As with my conclusion in relation to liability, faced with the position as it was on 7 January 2003 and his concern that the case could fail in its entirety, I am not prepared to say that it was.”
Read more in the Court of Appeal judgment.
Barristers: Cara Guthrie