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Solicitors' responsibilities - planning application reports

View profile for Liam Waine
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In a recent Court of Appeal case it was decided it was reasonable to expect that a conveyancing solicitor should explain the detail of a Plansearch report which provided details of a school development in close proximity of the property being purchased. 

In this particular case the solicitors for the purchaser were not content with the responses from the buyer on their Sellers Property Information Report so they obtained a Plansearch report which revealed a number of outstanding planning applications in its vicinity. The solicitors prepared the report on title for the buyer but failed to highlight the findings in the Plansearch report to them. The contracts were exchanged and shortly before completion the buyers became aware of the developments. Accordingly, they decided to abandon the purchase which resulted in litigation between the sellers and the purchaser. The buyers subsequently issued a claim against their solicitors for failing to advise appropriately in relation to the Plansearch report.

This case is indicative of how important it is for solicitors to explain in detail the contents of reports even when they are not duty bound to obtain them. Once the decision to obtain a report is made it is crucial that the prospective buyer is aware of the content of the report so that they can make an informed decision on whether they want to continue with the purchase of the property.

If you think you may have been affected by such a transaction and advice from a solicitor you should contact our dispute resolution team on  0175 321 6399 who have specialist professional negligence solicitors who can assess your case.

Case: (ORIENTFIELD HOLDINGS LTD (A COMPANY REGISTERED & INCORPORATED IN THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS) v BIRD & BIRD LLP [2017] EWCA Civ 348)

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