Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Increasing PI rates?

I spotted an interesting piece in the Lawyer this week about tax related professional negligence claims - a topic close to my heart as I regularly speak about it to groups of accountants.

It's written by Steve Holland who is a director in the ­professions division of Lockton International. As they are insurers to many accountancy firms as well as law firms his views may be of interest.

This was the quote that caught my eye:
Insurers will also be looking at tax issues – an area where there has been large ­numbers of claims arising from a lack of clarity on legal firms’ retainers and whether that has been included in the terms of engagement. Insurers are saying, “Okay, if you’re giving tax advice, is it in relation to implementation of schemes by others or is it in relation to their own schemes?”
I tend to think this is equally relevant to lawyers, accountants and tax advisers. Those who have heard me speak on the subject will have heard me state that HMRC often challenge schemes that may well work in theory. The challenge succeeds though as all of the necessary component elements were not properly implemented. The meetings didn't take place. The papers weren't signed by the right people in the right place or whatever. And who is it who is left 'holding the baby?'

The promoters of the scheme are often long gone and out of the picture. Who gets lumbered with trying to resolve things - often without getting paid for the time that this absorbs?

Coming back to Steve Holland's note above, where does this leave the regular adviser who does not create such schemes?


  1. The little appreciated case of Hurlingham Estates [1996] (TLR 3/1/1997) makes for interesting reading.

    The headnote is "solicitors - negligence - tax trap". I can mail you a copy if needed.

  2. Thanks for that. Hadn't come across it before. Have now found it online and will include reference to this in future talks on the subject.