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Geoff Boycott loses solicitors negligence claim.

December 15, 2011

In Boycott – v – Williams (2011) the former England cricketer Geoff Boycott brought a solicitors negligence claim action against his former solicitors, Perrins, Guy and Williams claiming that they failed to advise him that a property purchased as joint tenants could be severed and could become tenants in common.

Where a property is purchased as joint tenants the parties own the property jointly and when the first party dies the other inherits the whole of the property.

A joint tenancy can be severed by one party serving a Notice under the Law of Property Act 1925.

When the tenancy is severed then the property is then held as tenants in common, and then each party’s share of the property then devolves as part of their estate i.e. under the terms of their Will or intestacy.

It was Mr Boycotts claim that in fact when he purchased the property with Mrs Wyatt the solicitors failed to advise him that the property that was then bought as joint tenants could be severed and could become tenants in common.

It was his claim that if he had been advised of that fact then he would not have gone ahead with the purchase.

The tenancy was severed whilst Mrs Wyatt was diagnosed with cancer 2007.

Mr Boycott became aware of the severance in July 2007, yet failed to launch any proceedings until august 2010. The Judge Mr Justice Vos concluded that Geoff Boycott knew there was a problem and should have launched proceedings by July 2010.

The cause of action in Tort accrued when the sale was executed. That was in 1996 when they purchased the property together for £450,000.

Mr Boycott had possessed sufficient knowledge in July 2007 and therefore having regard to the extension given under Section 40 (1) of the Limitation Act 1980, he should have issued proceedings within 3 years of that date.