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Barclays Bank Plc v Thompson [1997] 4 All ER 816  Court of Appeal

Mrs Thompson was the sole beneficial owner of the family home. She signed a mortgage securing the debts of the husband's business on the family home. She had received advice from a firm of solicitors appointed by the bank who were also the husband's solicitors. The advice she received was defective in that it failed to explain the full extent of liability. The solicitors wrote to the bank certifying that Mrs Thompson had been advised. The bank later sought possession of the property. Mrs Thompson argued that the fact that the solicitor was that of the bank that the knowledge of the defective advice should be imputed to the bank.


Mrs Thompson was unsuccessful. The bank were entitled to assume that the solicitors had correctly advised the wife. The doctrine of imputed knowledge had not survived Barclays Bank v O'Brien. The correct analysis was in terms of constructive notice and reasonable steps. Whilst the solicitor was the agent of the bank there was no duty of an agent to disclose their short comings to the principal.


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