A case concerning an employed surveyor's duty of care.

Merrett -v- Babb [2001] 3 WLR 1. The Times 2 March 2001, Court of Appeal

My client, a surveyor, carried out a mortgage valuation report on behalf of his employer. The employer was a surveyor instructed by the mortgage company. The buyer (mortgagor) relied upon the report and suffered loss. The judge at first instance, declaring himself bound by the House of Lords' decision in Smith -v- Eric Bush, held that my client owed a duty of care to the buyer. By a majority (May LJ and Wilson J) the Court of Appeal upheld the decision. Aldous LJ delivered a dissenting judgement preferring to apply the reasoning of Henderson -v- Merrett and Williams -v- Natural Life Health Foods and stating that Smith -v- Eric Bush was not binding authority on the point.

(note: This ruling has serious implications for employed professionals generally who, it seems, may be held personally liable to their employer's customers and may, for various reasons, find themselves uninsured in respect of that liability.)