A useful reminder in Platform Funding Ltd v Anderson & Associates Ltd, [2012] EWHC 1853 (QB). Platform Funding, a mortgage provider, retained Anderson & Associates, a firm of chartered surveyors, to provide a valuation of an apartment in a new development that was being purchased with a loan from Platform. The purchaser defaulted and the apartment was sold at a significant loss. Platform sued the surveyors, alleging they had been negligent in not following the standard practices set out by the governing body for chartered surveyors in England: they had failed to consider any incentives that had been offered to purchasers in the development or the value of apartments in comparable developments.

The judge concluded, however, that the firm’s negligence was, on a balance of probabilities, not the cause of Platform’s loss on the sale; and even if the valuation had been performed with appropriate care and skill the result was likely to have been the same. The real source of Platform’s loss was a dishonest vendor who had sold apartments in the development at a price that was significantly above market value, provided inflated valuation information on comparable apartments to the surveyors and colluded with Platform’s solicitors in a scheme to ‘ramp up the sale price so as to mislead third parties’ (including the solicitors’ own client, Platform). The solicitors had ceased to practise by the time of trial and their insurer had repudiated coverage. While Platform’s claim failed, Anderson & Associates obtained judgment against the solicitors in contribution proceedings.

[Link available here].