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White v Jones - 1995

306 words (1 pages) Case Summary

5th Oct 2021 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Legal Case Summary

White v Jones [1995] 2 AC 207

Considers professional negligence and the circumstances in which a third party can bring a claim on such grounds.


A man, Mr White, wished to change his will so as to leave £9000 for the benefit of his two daughters, who he had chosen to exclude at the point of his will’s initial drafting. His solicitor was the defendant, Mr Jones, who received Mr White’s request but took a sizable time to actually implement it. In this time period, Mr White passed away and the will remained unchanged. Subsequently, Mr White’s daughters, the claimants, brought an action against the defendant, contending the amount of time it took for him to fulfill the request amounted to professional negligence and attempting to claim the amount that they would have received had the will been altered.


Could a professional person be liable for negligence to another person with whom they had no direct contractual relationship or responsibility.

Decision / Outcome

The House of Lords found 3-2 for the claimants, determining that Mr Jones’s negligent behavior did provide grounds for a claim by others, even where no prior contractual or fiduciary relationship existed. The Court applied the three part test stated in Caparo Industries v Dickman [1990] UKHL 2), finding that the loss caused by Mr Jones’s delay was reasonably foreseeable, that a sufficiently proximate relationship could be identified between Mr White’s daughters and Mr Jones, and lastly that it would be fair, just and reasonable for liability to be imposed.

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UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.

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