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Halsall: bad advice, limitation and tax avoidance

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For a cause of action to accrue in negligence, the claimant must show that they have suffered damage; identifying when this has occurred has important implications for the question of whether a limitation defence is available. The recent case of Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd followed earlier authority suggesting that a cause of action arises when the claimant is put at a ‘commercial disadvantage’. It is suggested that the reasoning in Halsall is inconsistent with earlier authority, in particular the House of Lords’ decision in Law Society v Sephton & Co. The courts should revisit this line of authority and insist on some actual financial loss being suffered before a claim can be brought.

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