The “Illegality” Defence and the Supreme Court



1 Chancery Lane has long had a reputation for appellate advocacy at the highest level.

Last week Andrew Warnock Q.C. and Maurice Rifat were successful in the Supreme Court in the case of Stoffel & Co v Grondona [2020] UKSC 42 which concerned the impact of the illegality defence to a claim against a solicitor for professional  negligence in the context of a mortgage fraud.

The application of the illegality defence was also considered this year by the Supreme Court in Whittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX [2020] UKSC 14 in which Lord Edward Faulks Q.C. appeared for the appellant.

The issue of the “illegality” defence occurs in all Chamber’s practice areas and to mark Andrew’s and Maurice’s success in Stoffel we are offering our clients this bumper bulletin on this sometimes tricky issue.


  • Andrew Spencer explains how the Supreme Court dealt with illegality as a defence to a professional negligence claim in Stoffel and looks for clues as to when the illegality defence might succeed in a professional negligence case.  Read Andrew Spencer’s article here.




The Supreme Court website has case summaries with links to the judgments and press releases about these cases. Click on the links below for more details about these cases:

Whittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX [2020] UKSC 14

Stoffel & Co v Grondona [2020] UKSC 42

Henderson v Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust [2020] UKSC 43


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