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Would the ruling apply if, say, a client with an almost statute barred PI case walks into a solicitors reception and gets told that the fee earner the client asks for is on annual leave for two weeks, but doesn't say there was another fee earner who could have dealt with the case, the client goes home and the case is lost?
Or if the receptionist DOES say there is someone else available, but advises she is tied up and could only see the client at the end of the day, but it turns out that the fee earner would have rescheduled some of her work if she had been told of the new client's case coming up to limitation?
I hate to say it but I'm inclined to agree with Jackson in the Court of Appeal as to where this will lead. In imposing professional responsibilities and standards of care on non-professional support staff, with no element of person responsibility on the recipient of the information from the non-professional staff to check that information, there are danger this judgment WILL in fact open the flood gates.
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