The doctrine of special relationship affecting professionals and quasi-professionals
The common law notions of profession, quasiprofession, professional and quasi-professional categories in tort are analysed. The basis of liability before Hedley Byrne and Co. Ltd. v. Heller and Partners Ltd.1 involving the various stages of evolution, transition, reversion, regeneration and conflict is analysed. The focus of interpretation is to identify the relevance of professionalism and quasi-professionalism as the basis of third party liability. The relationship between Hedley Byrne2 and its impact on quasi-professional categories is analysed. The Hedley Byrne3 principle and policy model of special relationship, together with its core concepts and its theoretical and practical implications in subsequent cases is examined. The theoretical and practical problems of analysis in the application of Hedley Byrnd4 to Ross v. Cauntersr' is redefined and defended on the footing of professional ism. The theoretical and practical difficulties in the application of Hedley Byrn and to architect, consulting engineer, valuation surveyor, local authority skilled employee and specialist sub-contractor is analysed. The conceptual and practical problems of analysis arising from the decisions in Yianni v. Edwin and Sons,7 Smith v. Eric S Bush; Harris v. Wyre Forest D.C.,6 Ministry of Housing and Local Government v. Sharp,9 Junior Books v. Veitchi Co. Ltd.10 are examined within the principle and policy analysis. The competing policy interpretations in Caparo Industries plc v. Dickman11 by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords is contrasted. The similarity in their theoretical framework and the difference in their applications and conclusions are identified. The House of Lords decision in Caparo12 is examined to ascertain how much it has redirected Hedley Byrne.13 The subsequent applications of Caparo14 is examined. It is suggested that the previous cases be categorised within both principle and policy contexts. It concludes with a recommendation towards a theory of special relationship based on the experience of the last two centuries.