Torrence -v- Bradbury reviewing the liability of barristers for professional negligence

In a judgment dated 1 December 2020 Mr Justice Jay reviews the case law regarding the liability of barristers and debates the view in Jackson & Powell at paragraph 144:

‘One aspect of the jurisprudence that requires some attention is the difference between mistakes, errors of judgment, and negligent errors. The authors of Jackson & Powell (including, I note, Mr Smiley) appear not to be convinced that barristers should be treated in any different way to solicitors, or I would add, doctors: see paras 12-023 to 12-028. It is debatable whether there is a difference between the Bolam test in a clinical negligence setting and the “blatantly wrong” test that applies to barristers, at least in a forensic as opposed to a purely advisory setting. What is clear on the authorities is that barristers can make mistakes which are not negligent and that they can make judgmental errors which are not negligent. The substance matters more than the taxonomy. A claimant can only succeed if the mistake, or error, whether by commission or omission, is deemed to be blatantly wrong. This is a situation where adverbs matter.’

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Torrance v Bradberry (Rev 1) [2020] EWHC 3260 (QB) (01 December 2020)

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