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The Regulation of Construction Experts after Jones v Kaney

Paper number

Judge Anthony Thornton QC

March 2012

A paper given to the Society of Construction Law at a meeting in London on 7th June 2011

Much concern followed the Supreme Court judgment in Jones v Kaney during 2011, in which a majority of the Supreme Court decided that expert witnesses should not benefit from a blanket immunity against legal actions by their own clients. Judge Anthony Thornton QC considers the background to the immunity and its history in a construction context, the analogy with advocates' immunity, the views of both majority and minority judges in the Supreme Court and the implications of the judgment for quantity surveyors in particular. He looks at (i) what the case decided (ii) an identification of who is affected by the decision and how the duties and liabilities of those affected have been changed and (iii) a prediction as to how the duties and liabilities of construction professionals may develop more generally in the future.

Introduction - The historical context - Jones v Kaney: factual and legal setting - Jones v Kaney: the views of the majority - Jones v Kaney: the views of the dissenting minority - Answers to Lord Hope and Lady Hale - The future: quantity surveyors - Conclusions.

The author: His Honour Judge Thornton QC is a judge of the Technology and Construction Court.

Text 18 pages.