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The original Chaplin v Hicks case concerning loss of a chance revolved around a beauty contest.

Ironically,the same issue has arisen with Miss Universe 2015 and a recent legal case.  On Sunday Miss Columbia, Ariadna Gutierrez was mistakenly crowned winner of Miss Universe 2015 in Las Vegas before the host Steve Harvey recognised his error.

A few moments passed before Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was correctly named winner.

Would Miss Columbia have a claim?

Mrs Justice Proudman has looked into the principles of loss of chance in Harding Homes (East Street) Ltd v Bircham Dyson Bell [2015] EWHC 3329 (Ch).

This was a rare case where the defendant solicitors admitted negligence but succeeded in showing that the claimants’ loss of a chance claim was of “negligible” value. The result was that the claimants were awarded only nominal damages and were ordered to pay the defendants’ costs.

Secondly, the judge declined to assess contingencies individually. She preferred to look at the value of the lost contingencies occurring “in the round, rather than mechanically applying percentage upon percentage.”

Having heard the claimants cross-examined, however, the judge concluded that she was unable to tell whether or when they were telling the truth. Further, even with the benefit of the doubt, their lost chance was of no value.

Dont forget that when it comes to a professional negligence claim it may not be straightforward owing to issues like these and it makes sense therefore to use mediation. Solicitors can put ProMediate forward as a certified ADR entity as a valid alternative to the Legal Onbudsman for clients to use.


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