Tort Law (Negligence & Duty of Care)

Nigel intends to open his own estate agency. He decides to purchase a shop with a flat above it,
where he intends to live (‘Property’). The Property was built in 1936. Nigel has applied for a
mortgage. The mortgage lender commissioned its own survey on the property which Nigel paid the
mortgage company for. His solicitor advises him to arrange his own survey but as he has little
money, he decides to rely on the fact that one is being carried out for the mortgage lender.
Jenny, a local surveyor, carries out the survey for the mortgage lender. Nigel was given a copy of
the survey report which values the Property at £200,000 and states that there are no major
structural problems. The survey also included a statement that ‘this report is provided without
liability on the part of the surveyor’.
On seeing the report, Nigel goes ahead and buys the property for £200,000.
Nigel also invests £20,000 in equipment for the business, including a photocopier. On the opening
day the photocopier overheats and explodes injuring Nigel and damaging the newly decorated office
and some of the new office furniture. As a result, Nigel has to close the office for a week to
redecorate and find replacement office furniture and estimates that he has lost £1,000 in profit whilst
the office was closed.
Just before reopening, Nigel notices wide cracks in the back wall of the Property and damp in the
front ground floor walls. Tom, a surveyor who is a friend of Nigel’s, tells Nigel that the cracks are
due to improper repair following bomb damage. Most of the houses in the area were damaged by a
bomb dropped during the Second World War, a fact which should be known to all local surveyors.
The damp is caused by deterioration of the damp proof course which should have been apparent to
a qualified surveyor. The repairs will be costly.
Critically evaluate the scenario above and using your knowledge of the tort of negligence, advise
Nigel as to any claims in he may have in negligence and against whom.
Your answer should be in essay format. Please see the additional guidance below. Do not produce
your answers in the style of a letter or report.

Additional Guidance
You will be marked using the standard assessment criteria marking guide.
The following points provide further guidance on what is expected in your answers:
1. Communication
Give legal advice rather than practical advice. Use objective, impersonal formal language.
When answering legal questions, you should:
• firstly, identify the issues;
• then explain the legal principles and;
• finally, apply those principles to the question.
Your final paragraph should summarise the points made in your answer and draw any conclusions
from them.
2. Knowledge and understanding
Your answers should show that you have explained and applied the legal principles to the scenario.
3. Use and application of source material
All key sources should be cited following the UCEM Harvard Referencing system.
4. Evidence based critical analysis
Your answers should demonstrate critical analysis of the legal principles to justify arguments.
5. Insight Interpretation and evaluation
Your answers should demonstrate self- direction and originality in tackling and solving legal
Reference list and bibliography
You should include a reference list with a minimum of all relevant and appropriate sources that you
have written about and cited within your work.
You should also include a bibliography list with all separate relevant and appropriate sources that
have influenced your thinking but are not cited in your work.

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