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The importance of remaining realistic

Liam O’Shea, Solicitor and Director in Astle Paterson’s Dispute Resolution Department discusses the Court of Appeal case of Bacciottini & Anor v Gotelee and Goldsmith, which highlights the importance of being realistic when considering issuing Court proceedings.

Liam explained, “The case involved a professional negligence claim against a firm of Solicitors who, when acting for Mr Baccionttini and his business partner on their purchase of a property, failed to properly advise them on the nature of a restrictive covenant affecting the property.

When the restrictive covenant came to light, to resolve matters an application was made to have it lifted at a cost of £250.  The application was successful and the restrictive covenant was lifted in November 2009.

However, Mr Baccionttini contended that at the time of his purchase, with the restrictive covenant in place, the property would have been worth some £300,000.00 less than the purchase price and in March 2013 he issued a claim against his former Solicitors for that sum.

The Judge did not agree the Solicitors should be liable to Mr Baccionttini for £300,000.00 or anything like it – indeed, the Judge awarded Mr Baccionttini the £250 that he had spent in applying to lift the restrictive covenant.

Mr Baccionttini appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal, who heard it in January 2016 and upheld the Judge’s decision that Mr Baccionttini should receive only £250.”

Liam concluded, “The decision highlights the need for potential litigants, first to mitigate their losses and secondly to enter into Court claims with realistic expectations.

In this case, Mr Baccionttini’s actual loss arising out of the error was £250, and it was decided that to award him anything more would have been overcompensating him.”

At Astle Paterson, we will provide clear and honest advice as to the merit of any potential claim.  Should you have a dispute and need assistance, please contact Liam O’Shea on 01283 531366 or by email at loshea@astlepaterson.co.uk.

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