The judgment of His Honour Judge Pelling QC, sitting in the High Court, in Higgins & others v. ERC Accountants & Business Advisers Ltd & Others [2017] EWHC 2190 (Ch) is a reminder to legal representatives that they are not obliged to point out each others’ mistakes.  


An issue arose about service of the Claim Form. HHJ Pelling QC found that good service of the Claim Form had not taken place and the Claimants argued that there was a good reason to allow service by other methods because the Defendants were seeking to take advantage of an error made by the Claimants’ solicitors, who, knowing that there was a “misunderstanding” about whether or not service had taken place, should have sought to clarify the position.


HHJ Pelling QC rejected the Claimants’ arguments, noting that whatever duties there may be to assist with clear misunderstandings, this did not extend to “requiring a solicitor acting for one party to inform his or her opponent of an apparent error made by that opponent in the absence of instructions from his or her client to do so, when to do so might be contrary to the substantive interests of that solicitor's client”.