Sharing the blame

It is not always easy to determine where the duties of a conveyancing solicitor end, and those of a surveyor begin.  

That was the implication of the recent case of  E.Surv Ltd v Goldsmith Williams Solicitors [2014] EWHC 1104.  When acting for the lender on the remortgage of a residential property, the solicitor omitted to inform the surveyor that the property had been purchased for £390,000 less than 6 months earlier.  The surveyor subsequently valued the property at £725,000. 

The lender pursued a claim against the surveyor, which was settled.  The surveyor then sought a contribution form the solicitor.  The court agreed that the solicitor should have reported matters relevant to the security to the surveyor, and ordered that the solicitor pay half of the settlement sum to the surveyor.