In Darby & Darby (A Firm) v Joyce  Mrs Joyce bought a house subject to covenants “Not to make any alteration or addition to the exterior or external appearance of the Property [Tamarisk] or the buildings thereon nor to erect any walls, fences or buildings (whether temporary or otherwise) without first obtaining the written consent of the Transferor [the Hoyles]”
Darby & Darby solicitors did not advise her, during their handling of her purchase, as to the existence of the covenants and she began internal and external alterations. Only when the Hoyles had indicated the imminence of injunction proceedings the following December did Darby and Darby tell Mrs Joyce to stop work.
Mrs Joyce ignored the advice suspending work only on the patio causing further wasted expense and her having to pay the costs of injunction proceedings.
Darby and Darby denied liability for those further expenses and costs.
The Court of Appeal agreed.
Whilst Mr Darby had not previously given comprehensive advice as to the effect of the covenants, she had understood the advice he had given her on 10 January. She was being advised to stop work and settle or else face litigation. Albeit he should have sent her away to get independent advice, the advice was good. She elected to reject it. So she was the cause of the injunction proceedings and, their costs.
So the Court of Appeal upheld the solicitors’ appeal against the lower court’s order that they compensate for those further expenses and additional costs.
This blog has been posted out of general interest. It does not remove the need to get bespoke legal advice in individual cases.