Latest aggregation decision

9 August 2021
By Jonathan Corman

In what will be a relief both to the victims of dishonest solicitor Linda Box (pictured, and christened by the press the “Gangsta Granny”) and to her innocent partners in the former firm of Dixon Coles & Gill, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment today (06.08.21) in this important decision for those involved with solicitors’ professional indemnity disputes. The Court of Appeal dismissed the insurer’s appeal and instead confirmed the decision below that the various claims, emanating from Mrs Box’s numerous thefts from numerous clients, did not arise from “one series of related acts and omissions” and thus did not aggregate. In short, the Court of Appeal held that each client’s claim arose from the specific thefts which it had suffered, rather than all of the different clients’ claims having arisen from the totality of the thefts. Put another way, a theft from client A did not cause client B’s loss and vice-versa.

Adding salt to the insurer’s wounds, the Court of Appeal did identify (at para. 82 of its judgment) an ingenious argument which might have worked in the insurer’s favour, or at the very least have enabled it to survive what was an application for summary judgment and instead have the argument tested at a trial. However, the argument had formed no part of the insurer’s submissions and the Court of Appeal held it was too late for it to be pursued.

The full judgment is here: 

Jonathan Corman is a partner at Fenchurch Law