Peter Burgess v Basia Lejonvarn  EWHC 40 (TCC)
The case concerned the redesign of Mr & Mrs Burgess’ garden. Ms Lejonvarn, the defendant, was an architect and friend of Mr & Mrs Burgess and had undertaken some previous work for Mr Burgess’s company.
Ms Lejonvarn arranged for contractors to start preliminary work on the garden, but had not embarked on design work before relations deteriorated as a result of costs running over budget. Mr & Mrs Burgess brought an action alleging both breach of contract and tort.
In a hearing to determine preliminary issues, the Court looked closely at the email exchanges between the parties and found that there was not enough evidence to find agreement between the parties of the key terms to establish a contract between the parties. However, the Court also found after a useful review of the authorities that Ms Lejonvarn nevertheless owed a duty of care to Mr & Mrs Burgess, notwithstanding the absence of a contract. Ms Lejonvarn had clearly undertaken project management activities for Mr & Mrs Burgess and therefore could be liable to her (former) friends.
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Jeremy Newman, Partner
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