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Guy v Mace & Jones and Ors [2012] EWHC 1022 (Chancery Division) 24/4/12


Solicitors instructed in connection with the sale of land were not liable for the loss incurred following the alleged fraudulent transfer of the land where the vendor knew and approved of the transfer. In anticipation of a sale of land the vendor and claimant in these proceedings pre-signed a transfer deed which he provided via his solicitors to solicitors acting for the purchase on an implied understanding that its release was solely for the purpose of obtaining its execution and that it would otherwise be held to the vendor's order. Although better that this be recorded in writing, it was not a breach of duty not to. In circumstances where the transaction was not to proceed it was arguably a breach of duty that not to obtain the return of the transfer deed was a breach of duty, but it was not causative of the loss which took place when the solicitor acting for the purchaser permitted the purchaser to keep the solicitor. The third firm of solicitors who acted for the vendor having acted for the purchaser was not wise, but did not constitute a breach of duty where he had no instructions relating to the sale of the land. In any event the vendor knew and approved of the transfer of the land and had not taken any action to enforce his rights over the land by registering a unilateral notice until it was too late.