Professional negligence: Raising the stakes
In the art world there have been a number of recent high profile sales in which auctioneers have made what might politely be called "errors of judgment", potentially opening themselves up to a variety of claims. It is worth noting that to practise as an auctioneer there is no legal requirement to have any particular qualification, nor are auctioneers required to join any professional association. Although, in practice, many auctioneers will be members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.As with other professionals, an auctioneer is under a general duty to exercise proper skill and care in and about the sale of his principal's property (Denew v Daverell ; enacted in s.13 Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982). A most obvious example of this duty is the obligation to take care not to damage goods entrusted to the auction house for sale.
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