Shaw v Leigh Day (a firm) 11/4/17 (QB)

As a matter of principle it was possible that a claim for damages for breach of a legal services contract could give rise to an award of damages for distress depending on the objective in hiring the lawyer. While the lower court judge had correctly concluded that the solicitors’ retainer was not to achieve a specific outcome, its object was to ensure so far as possible that the circumstances leading to the claimant’s father’s death were sufficiently investigated at the inquest to provide the claimant’s family with an answer to the question why he had died. In those circumstances a claim that the firm had not provided counsel with the necessary materials before an inquest was a matter that should be investigated at trial and not struck out. While the recovery was likely to be very small, that was not of itself a reason to strike out the claim or give summary judgment.