Nocton v Lord Ashburton

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Nocton v Lord Ashburton
Court House of Lords
Decided 19 June 1914
Citation(s) [1914] AC 932
Professional negligence, assumption of responsibility

Nocton v Lord Ashburton [1914] AC 932 is a leading English tort law case concerning professional negligence and the conditions under which a person will be taken to have assumed responsibility for the welfare of another.


Lord Ashburton was buying a property for £60,000 on Church Street, Kensington, London. His solicitor was Mr Nocton. Mr Nocton advised Lord Ashburton to release part of the mortgage security. This was a bad idea, because as Mr Nocton in fact knew, this meant that the security would become insufficient. Lord Ashburton alleged the advice was not given in good faith, but rather in Mr Nocton's self-interest.


Viscount Haldane LC for the House of Lords held that despite Derry v Peek (which had disallowed any claim for misstatements apart from in the tort of deceit), Nocton was liable for his bad advice given the fiduciary relationship between the solicitor and client.

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