Rob Weir KC and Tom Westwell in Court of Appeal Case on Legal Advice Helpline’s Duty to Caller

In Miller v Irwin Mitchell LLP [2024] EWCA Civ 53, the claimant brought a claim against the defendant firm for negligence. After breaking her leg on holiday, the claimant had contacted the firm’s free legal advice helpline. She was given general preliminary advice about a claim against the tour operator, including as to limitation. She was not advised to tell the tour operator about her accident or that it should notify its insurer. She formally instructed the defendant some two years later, by which time her leg had been amputated. Her claim collapsed after the tour operator went into administration and its insurer refused to cover the claim on the basis of the failure to notify.

The first instance judge dismissed the claimant’s negligence claim against the defendant, holding that the defendant had not had a duty to advise her to notify the tour operator at the relevant time.

The Court of Appeal (Phillips, Andrews and Falk LJJ) dismissed the claimant’s appeal. The Court held that the defendant had not, by giving advice on limitation, assumed a duty to advise on more immediate steps that the claimant needed to take to protect her claim, such as notification of the tour operator.

Rob Weir KC and Tom Westwell (with William Thorpe of Liverpool Civil Law) acted for the claimant/appellant, instructed by Rachael Wong and Rob Godfrey of Bond Turner. The judgment can be accessed here.

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