Quincecare Duty is limited to agents of the customer and does not extend to individual customers

In a decision that will be welcomed by the banking industry, the High Court in the case of Philipp v Barclays Bank UK plc [2021] EWHC 10 (Comm) has confirmed that the “Quincecare Duty” placed upon banks is confined to cases of attempted misappropriation of the customer’s funds by an agent of the customer, and not in cases where the customer itself instructs the bank.

Mrs Philipp issued a claim against Barclays Bank seeking to recover losses of £700,000 as a result of an Authorised Push Payment (“APP”) fraud. She asserted that the Quincecare Duty (as defined in the 1988 case of Barclays Bank plc v Quincecare Limited) applied to the facts of her case and required an analysis of whether the Bank had breached that duty or not. In response, the Bank argued that Quincecare Duty simply did not apply to the facts of the present case because the customer had made the instruction to the Bank, and not an agent on its behalf.

The Bank applied for summary judgment/strike out of the claim. It successfully persuaded the Court that the claim was wrong in law and that the Quincecare Duty did not extend to Banks having to protect its customer from the consequences of its own decisions where the payment instruction was authorised and valid. The Bank was not put on inquiry that should have led it to investigate the commercial decision made by the customer. The Court held that the Bank was not required to act as an amateur detective or act contrary to its mandate with the customer.

NB. The Claimant has been given permission to apply for permission to appeal.


Scott Nodder