Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.


Johnson v Gore Wood

[2001] 1 All ER 481

Case summary last updated at 04/01/2020 14:13 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Johnson v Gore Wood

 X, a company in which P was majority shareholder, sued D (solicitors) who gave them bad advice about the length of litigation, so that by the time the litigation was finished, the purpose of the litigation (to buy property) was made useless due to the fall in value. P, as a result, claimed separately from X for the diminution of the value of his pension and shares, which HL rejected since it was merely a reflection of X’s loss, for which D had already had to pay damages. P also claimed for mental distress and anxiety which the majority of lords rejected, saying it was not usually possible to claim for these. 

Lord Bingham: Addis sets out the general rule that anxiety and distress are generally not compensable (rejecting Lord Steyn’s assertion in Malik), subject to the Watts qualification and therefore the claim must be struck out. 

Lord Cooke (dissenting): As a general rule he accepts that “Contract-breaking is treated as an incident of commercial life which players in the game are expected to meet with mental fortitude.” However in this case P suffered extreme financial embarrassment and, from initially being wealthy, ended up on benefits which caused a breakdown in his family relationships. Although these are described as “anxiety”, they really come under the classification of “inconvenience and discomfort” under Watts and should therefore attract damages. 

Have you seen Oxbridge Notes' best Contract Law study materials?

Our law notes have been a popular underground sensation for 10 years:

  • Written by Oxford & Cambridge prize-winning graduates
  • Includes copious academic commentary in summary form
  • Concise structure relating cases and statutes into an easy-to-remember whole
  • Covers all major cases for LLB exams
  • Satisfaction guaranteed refund policy
  • Recently updated
Contract Law Notes

Contract Law Notes >>