Paul Flook, associate director, Berwin Leighton Paisner:
The Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Robinson v Jones considered the extent of a contractor’s duty of care in tort not to cause economic loss. Specifically, it considered the extent, if any, to which the making of a contract in itself gives rise to an assumption of responsibility (in the Hedley Byrne v Heller sense) that justifies imposing a tortious liability for economic loss.
In short, the court decided that a “simple” building contract does not in itself give rise to the requisite assumption of liability, but that the same does not apply to professional appointments. However, the court did not express a view as to which side of the line design and build contracts fall, and I thought this was one of the most interesting aspects of this case. (more…)