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As might be imagined, this dissenting speech was not well received

by Lord Atkin’s fellow judges5. It was left to another eminent Law Lord

to say, years later, that the time had come to acknowledge openly that the

majority of the House of Lords were “expediently and, at that time

perhaps excusably, wrong and the dissenting speech of Lord Atkin was

right”.6

Another celebrated case, in which the judgment of a dissenting

judge was vindicated by the judges themselves was Candler v. Crane

Christmas.7 Mr Candler, who had invested money in a company on the

basis of accounts that had been negligently prepared, lost his investment

and sued the accountants. The majority of the Court of Appeal held that,

in the absence of a contractual or fiduciary relationship, the accountants

owed no duty of care to that investor. Lord Denning, dissenting,

disagreed. He said:

“In my opinion, accountants owe a duty of care

not only to their own clients, but also to all

those whom they know will rely on their

5 In a lecture at the Reform Club, October 1997, entitled “Mr. Perlzweig, Mr. Liversidge and Lord Atkin”, Lord Bingham related that, in an unprecedented move, the Lord Chancellor asked Lord Atkin to take out the reference to Humpty Dumpty. Lord Atkin refused and, after delivery of his speech, he was cold-shouldered by his colleagues: see Bingham, “The business of Judging” (Oxford University Press) 2000, at p.216.

6 7

Lord Diplock in Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Rossminster (1980) AC 952. Candler v. Crane Christmas & Co (1951) 1 AER 426.

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