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Just an illusion


Unlimited liability does not exist (NCE 15 March). It is an illusion. The only question is what is the limit?

It can be the wealth of the contracting party, the consultant, which is the common meaning. Or it can be the cap in the contract, agreed between the contracting parties, such as 10% or 100% of the fee, or a fixed sum. Or it can be an insurance policy. And so on.

You can be also sued by others, but it will still be limited.

Even if you say the liability is not limited, its delivery is somewhat limited. You cannot give what you do not have. And the courts will leave you with a home and a few shirts.

It is time that a dose of reality was brought into the field of liability. Lawyers will not sort it out for the consultant or for the client. They are designed not to look beyond their next feast.

The ffice of Government Commerce (OGC) spokesman should be sacked for his ignorance.

The law makes you liable for 100% of the damage or loss that a client can concoct, irrespective of whether you did 100%, 10% or 1% of the damage.

I bear many scars.

Consultants generally pay up happily when they get it wrong.

If the OGC is peopled by the likes of its spokesman, lawyers will stay rich and the UK will continue its genteel decline.

Duncan Michael (F), Duncan.Michael@arup. com

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