Professional Negligence and Clinical Negligence Briefing – June 2021



On 18th June the Supreme Court handed down judgments in Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton and Khan v Meadows. In this joint briefing we consider the judgments from both a professional negligence and clinical negligence perspective.

Rehabilitation of the “Mountaineer’s Knee”   Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton


As set out in the judgment of Lord Sumption in BPE Solicitors v Hughes-Holland [2017] UKSC 21 it took approximately 20 years for the House of Lords decision in SAAMCO to be reviewed at the highest level, and only a few years later the issues of professional advice cases has again been before the Supreme Court, with five separate judgments across the two cases setting out propositions and principles which have important bearing not only on professional negligence cases, but on the broader law of tort. This article considers the three judgments given in Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP [2021] UKSC 20.

The facts are somewhat commercially complex, and some jargon must be excused. The claimant building society purchased and issued lifetime mortgages. The borrowers were homeowners over the age of 50 in the UK and Spain who wanted equity in their properties released. The mortgage arrangements were such that neither interest nor capital was repayable until the borrower died, moved out, or voluntarily chose to repay and redeem the mortgage. Importantly the mortgage over the homeowner’s lifetime was charged at a fixed rate.

By John Ross QC, Francesca O’Neill and Thomas Yarrow.

Scope of a Doctor’s Duty of Care:  Khan v Meadows in the Supreme Court

Along with its judgment in Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP [2021] UKSC 20 which is reviewed in detail by my colleagues John Ross QC, Francesca O’Neill and Tom Yarrow in their article, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in Khan v Meadows [2021] UKSC 21. The decision in the Khan case is a rather more factually straightforward example of the principle that the damages which a professional may be required to pay for a breach of a duty of care may be limited by the scope of the duty owed.

The claimant was aware that she was a carrier of the haemophilia gene after the birth of her nephew with that condition in 2006. When she was considering having a family of her own, she consulted her GP to seek advice as to whether she carried the gene. The GP arranged blood tests which were suitable for checking whether the claimant herself had haemophilia but which could not establish whether she was a carrier of the gene. Another GP later informed her that the results were normal. Believing that she could not pass the condition to her child, she became pregnant. Sadly, her son, A, was born with haemophilia. Had she known that he was affected by the condition, she would have chosen to terminate her pregnancy. It became apparent as A got older, however, that he is also autistic. That condition is unrelated to haemophilia, but its effects make the haemophilia much more difficult to manage.  The costs of managing A’s haemophilia were agreed in the sum of £1.6 million; damages covering the management of both conditions were almost six times that sum, being agreed at £9 million.

By Paul Stagg.

Read the Professional Negligence & Clinical Negligence Briefing in full.

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