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Surveyor face litigation rise

Chartered surveyors, already struggling from overcapacity and a bitter price war to maintain market share, face a sharp rise in negligence claims according to a partner at one of Britain's leading property agents.

The likely increase in litigation follows a Court of Appeal decision to overturn last year's ruling which held John D Wood responsible for negligently overvaluing three London properties, but said the surveyor was not responsible for that part of their fall in value attributable to general market weakness.

Last March Wood was ordered to pay £15.8m compensation to Banque Bruxelles Lambert and its insurer Eagle Star, which claimed that if not for Wood's over-optimistic valuation they would not have lent money on the properties and subsequently made losses when the borrower defaulted.

According to Martin Farr, a partner at surveyor Grimley which advises banks and other lenders on negligence cases, many claims where the potential compensation had been thought to be only marginal could be worth pursuing now.