Key judgments on solicitors’ liability for property transactions hijacked by fraudsters are set to be handed down this week.
The Court of Appeal is due to give judgment tomorrow in Dreamvar (UK) Limited v Mishcon de Reya and P&P Property Limited v Owen White & Catlin LLP.
At stake is the issue of who should bear the financial burden where fraudsters have posed as sellers to complete a property purchase, then diverted funds transferred by the buying party.
In Dreamvar, City firm Mishcon de Reya challenged a High Court order for it to pay more than £1m after its client was deceived into buying a property from the fake vendor.
Niten Chauhan, a partner in London firm JPC Law, which represents property company P&P, said the outcome of both landmark cases will have ‘significant implications’ for professionals in the insurance industry and the legal profession.
He added: ‘So many are anxiously awaiting greater clarity in this area, not least the innocent victims who, at present, are unwittingly left to suffer the consequences of these property frauds.’
The Law Society intervened in the appeals, highlighting the implications of rejecting Mishcon’s challenge – or indeed finding the solicitors of the fraudulent vendor liable for losses.