What is the difference between professional advice and information?

Since 1996 judgments have been handed down in cases creating legal principles to find a balance for the financial liability between a negligent professional and their former client.

As time passes many regard the assessment of this balance to be more difficult as new cases emerge.

In 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court was handed down in a landmark case BPE Solicitors and another (Respondents) v HughesHolland (in substitution for Gabriel) (Appellant). The judges decided that there must be a clear distinction between professionals who provide information and those who provide advice. The assessment of financial loss being different depending upon which category applies.

In January 2019 another case on this point has been decided in the Court of Appeal Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP [2019] EWCA 40 (Civ) 30.1.19.

We refer to the summary prepared by Nicola Ruston QC of Hailsham Chambers as follows:

“Advice” cases were ones where it was left to the adviser to consider what matters should be taken into account in deciding whether to enter into the transaction. In such cases, the adviser was liable for all the foreseeable losses flowing from entering into the transaction.

Unless the adviser was responsible for guiding the whole process in this way, then it was an “information” case. In such cases, the adviser was only responsible for the foreseeable financial consequences of the information or advice being wrong.’

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