The Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in Singularis1 , the first in which a breach of Quincecare duty2 was found, brought about a rejuvenated appetite for a duty that had lain relatively dormant for decades. This year’s cases have further tested the limits and application of the duty.
For example, is the duty owed to 12 creditors? Is it owed to non-customer beneficial owners of an account? How if at all can the duty be excluded by contractual terms? Further and significantly, the subject matter of cases also reflects the massive technological advances since the duty was first articulated, nearly thirty years ago. With those advances have come sophisticated APP3 and phishing scams, and customers seeking redress for their losses by invoking the Quincecare duty against deep-pocketed financial institutions.
This article was first published by Thought Leaders 4 Fire in January 2022.
1 Singularis Holdings Ltd (in Official Liquidation) (A Company Incorporated in the Cayman Islands) v Daiwa Capital Markets Europe Ltd  UKSC 50.
2 Barclays Bank plc v Quincecare Ltd  4 All ER 363. Per Steyn J (as he then was), this is the duty of a banker to “refrain from executing an order if and for as long as the banker is ‘put on inquiry’ in the sense that he has reasonable grounds … for believing that the order is an attempt to misappropriate the funds of the company”. Following the decision of the English High Court in Hamblin v World First Limited  EWHC 2383 (Comm), it seems that the Quincecare duty extends to financial institutions more widely (Hamlin involved a payment services provider)
3 “Authorised Push Payment” fraud. This is a scam involving the fraudster tricking a victim into willingly making large bank transfers to the fraudster.
Authored by Kit Smith, Associate.