Case study details
Nina purchases a residential property from Jimmy build ltd. for the value of £183,000.The valuation of this residential property was done by a surveyor,Peter on the instruction of Central Counties Building Society.Peter undertook the valuation inspection within 15 minutes and he did not report any significant defects
The surveyor did not disclose some important issues regarding the foundation of the property which had minor cracking to an internal supporting wall between the garage and the main structure of the house.The builder of this property was aware with this problem, but it disguises the defect from the owner of the property.After five years the signs of defect in the wall started appearing in front of Nina.After two years the signs became more prominent.After receiving the advice of a Structural Engineer,Nina consults her solicitor and legal action is started, seven years after the date of purchase and almost three years after the first external cracks were first noticed in the supporting wall.
Nina claims in the court that foundation defects are such that she could now only sell the property for a maximum price of £120,000 and only then to a professional builder. She also claimed that if she takes the remedial action for the defective property the cost associated would around £75,000. Central Counties Building Society have asked Nina for additional security, which she cannot provide after knowing that the value of the property has significantly diminished.
A person who is unfairly treated by the person or company can file suit against the person or the company for the compensation under the negligence tort (Negligence, n.d).The plaintiff (the person seeking compensation from the defendant) accuses the defendant (the person who is accused of the wrongdoing) of being negligent (Shavell, 2004).A person can be guilty for the negligence suit only when the four basic conditions are met.
Following are the required conditions of being come under the negligence law:
- Breach of duty
- Direct causation
In the first condition the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him or her duty of care.This duty will depend upon the relationship between the two parties.In next condition the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to meet the required level of care. This condition shows that defendant could have reasonably prevented the victim from the injury, but deliberately decided not to do so (Understanding what vicarious liability means for employees. 2012).In next condition the person who is claiming for the compensation has to give the evidence that defendant failed to meet the required level of care.
Duty of care states that there must be a relation between person on whose behalf negligence is done and one who is suffered due to negligence. It also states that former must owe a responsibility to save the latter.In such a condition duty of care is applicable.In the above case study as explained it is clear that the building constructed was faulty.On the other hand, the building was not evaluated properly by Peter, the Surveyor of Central Counties Building Society.
Peter had responsibility towards Nina who purchased that property.It was due to his negligence that she suffered loss and hence duty of Care is applicable in this case.Nina can opt for vicarious liability against the Central Counties Building as the act of negligence done by Peter, an employee of that company will make the whole company liable.
Generally, in case of construction contract the limitation period is 12 to 24 months after the completion of project. Contractor will be responsible only if defects arise within this period. Normally the remedy is that the contractor will correct the defect at his own cost.The Limitation Act, 1980 specifies that the limitation period in case of normal contracts is six years and if the contract is executed under more formal way than it may extend to 12 years.According to English Law, simple contract is one which is executed with only one signature. If any agreement is executed with higher formalities than mere signatures then it is considered as formal contract.
- Six years from the date of accrual from the cause of action being raised.
- Three years from the earliest date on which the potential claimant ought to have known or already k new or had certain material facts which was necessary to bring action.
Simply, the Latent Act increased the overall limit to 15 years from the date when damage actually occurred.
In the given case study, it has been observed that the concern authority who evaluated the property as well as the constructor who constructed it both was in fault. The constructor in spite of knowing about the fault sold the building by making temporary arrangements on the building to hide the defect for a longer time. On the other hand, the surveyor did not paid much attention to the property valuated it in just 15 minutes. Nina relied on the report of Central Counties Building Society and purchased the house.
There was a deliberate mistake done on behalf of the contractor as knowingly he tried to hide the fault. Surveyor performed negligence and thus could not valuate the house properly.In this case, Nina has the right to claim against the society and the contractor who misguided her. Nina has a time period of 15 years to file a suit against them from the date of mistake was visible.She filed a suit after 10 years which is prominently fair.
As per the case explained and law suit filed by Nina, a claim is made that the house is so badly defected that it will pay her only £ 120,000. And the repair charges incurred will be £ 75000. The demand made by contractor deposit an additional security is adequate.
As a legal advisor, Nina is advised to duly fight the case as it was only because of negligence of the surveyor that she had to face such a difficulty. Here she can apply for a vicarious liability as this is her right to get a better property if she is relying on valuation report. The negligence was on the part of Society and they asking for security are not acceptable. Thus, it is responsibility of society to correct their mistake and either repair her house or pay them a nominal amount as a correction for the mistake performed on their part. The society owes duty of care to Nina and they cannot neglect their mistake. Thus, it is advised to Nina that she must stand by and ask for compensation from the society.
From the above case study it can be observed that law is giving all the liberty and protection to the person who is being suffered due to negligence or any other act. Law always tries to protect the beneficiary. Above case has discussed about differ Act and statutes which provides all type of desired support and help to the beneficiary.
- Giliker, P., 2010. Vicarious Liability in Tort: A Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press.
- Hemraj, B. M., 2003, The emergence of solicitors’ tortious liability and the award of damages. Journal of Financial Crime.
- Leigh, H. L., 1982. Strict and Vicarious Liability: A Study in Administrative Criminal Law. Sweet & Maxwell.
- Lord, E. W. and Gray, E. T., 2011, Cost benefit analysis approach to global claims. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment.