Lord Kenyon held: “There are many situations in life, and particularly in the commercial world, where a man cannot by any diligence inform whom he deals; in which cases he must apply to those whose sources of intelligence enable them to give that information. If no injury is occasioned by that lie, it is not actionable; but if it be attended with a damage, it then becomes the subject of an action. It is admitted that Defendant’s conduct was highly immoral, and detrimental to society. And I am of opinion that the action is maintainable on the grounds of deceit in Defendant, and injury and loss to Plaintiff.”1
The next steps in proving the existence of tort of deceit is the fact that the claimant relied on the provided information and this caused loss to him. Even though it seems that Peter’s situation fits under these regulations, there is one big “On the other hand”: “in an action for deceit, it is not enough to establish misrepresentation alone; Fraud is established where it is proved that a false statement is made: (a) knowingly; or (b) without belief in its truth; or (c) recklessly, careless as to whether it be true or false.” 2 This is the House of Lords’ ruling in the case of Derry v Peek (1888).
Breach of duty occurs in the situation when the defendant owed a duty of care and his actions were lower than the reasonable standard. Smith and Keenan (2010, p.464) state that the test of a reasonable man should be applied to individuals “who have held themselves out as possessing a particular skill”3 as to average specialist in that domain. For example, as in Peter’s case, Bumble&Co – recommending themselves as a company which conducts financial analysis – were expected to act as an average accountant.
By providing a financial statement of poor quality, Bumble&Co actually provided misinformation to the shareholders. The company ignored its duty of care, established by objective standards, and provided false information. It accepted to