purposes. It is an action against him because he has had the benefit of the goods. It resembles, therefore, an action for restitution, rather than an action of tort’ (Denning LJ in Strand Electric and Engineering Ltd v Brisford Entertainments Ltd [1952] 2 QB 246, pp 254–55). Given that damages are designed to compensate for loss, would it not be better to see an action for a hiring charge, or sometimes an action for damages in trespass, as a claim in debt? 3 ‘[W]hat was in effect held in [the Strand Electric] case was that, in the case of conversion of a profit earning chattel which a defendant has used for his own benefit, the owner can recover by way of damages a hire charge plus either the return of the chattel or, if there has been a subsequent conversion by disposal, the value of the chattel at the date of such conversion… Although damages for conversion normally consist in the value of the goods at the date of conversion, consequential damages are always recoverable if not too remote… What the plaintiffs have lost is the use of the car over the whole period from the original conversion until ultimate return’ (Parker J in Hillesden Securities v Ryjack [1983] 1 WLR 959, p 963). Why should owners of profit earning chattels be treated more favourably by the law of damages than owners of non-profit earning chattels? Is it the role of the law of tort to protect expectation interests? 4 ‘In the field of tort, there are areas where the law is different and the plaintiff can recover in respect of the defendant’s gain. Thus, in the field of trespass it is well established that if one person has, without leave of another, been using that other’s land for his own purposes he ought to pay for such user… So, in a case of detinue the defendant was ordered to pay a hire for chattels he had detained: Strand Electric and Engineering Co Ltd v Brisford Entertainments Ltd…’ (Dillon LJ in Surrey CC v Bredero Homes Ltd [1993] 1 WLR 1361, p 1365). Should tort continue to play this unjust enrichment role now that there appears to be an independent category of restitution? (Cf Chapter 8.) (h) Loss of a chance
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Stuart-Smith LJ: This is an appeal by the defendants from a judgment of Turner J given on 8 June 1993 on the trial of a preliminary issue as to liability.

The plaintiffs are a subsidiary of Asda Group plc and are the retailing arm of that group which is concerned with carpets, furniture and soft furnishings. The defendants are a well known firm of solicitors in the City of London with extensive experience in the field of company takeovers and mergers. The proceedings arise from the takeover by the plaintiffs of assets and businesses within the Gillow group of companies.