This paper reviews the law of negligent valuation and explores the legal status of compliance with professional guidance in evidencing ‘reasonable’ care.
The implications of negligent valuation are imparted to surveyors from their student days and throughout their careers. Although without the emotive issues surrounding areas such as medicine, the financial impact with real estate transactions can ruin firms and individuals and, at the least, affect reputations and insurance premiums.
This review of the evolution of the law of negligent valuation explores the legal status of compliance with professional guidance in evidencing ‘reasonable’ care. Methodology is primarily doctrinal being a critical review of, predominantly UK, cases but the legal concepts have relevance across the common law world and beyond and RICS Professional Standards have, of course, international application.
It was found that professional guidance is not universally understood or applied and that, with increasingly complex literature the responsibilities of both firms and individuals require careful and regular re-consideration and determination. Also apparent is the complex interaction between guidance notes, practice statements and other documents such as terms of engagement, as seen in a review of Webb Resolutions v E.Surv  and the potential (although not adopted in that case) for deviation from professional standards. It is evident from the law reports that though there has been judicial assertion that non-compliance with professional standards may not, of itself, constitute negligence, in practice it probably will.
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