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Principles of Professional Liability In Malaysia

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This book seeks to examine the main principles of professional liability in Malaysia with emphasis on the liabilities in tort and equity, in addition to the obligations under contract and written law. While specific chapters are devoted to the law as is applicable to surveyors, construction professionals (exemplified by engineers, architects and quantity surveyors), accounting professionals, doctors and lawyers, the law is examined against the backdrop of the general law applicable to professionals generally.

The book provides the answers to some key questions - in what circumstances would a professional owe a duty to a client or to a third party, what is the standard of care the law demands that a professional should adhere to, and what would be the extent of the liability of a professional where a breach of duty is proved. In addition to the principles of assessment of damages in tort, emphasis is also given to the rules governing equitable compensation.

The authors have helpfully provided a wide range of pointers to relevant developments of the law in Commonwealth jurisdictions for better analysis and to show the way forward for Malaysian law where issues have yet to be decided in Malaysia.

About the Authors

Wan Azlan Ahmad LLB (Hons), MSc, CLP started his teaching career with the Faculty of Law, International Islamic University Malaysia. He remained a law teacher for 20 years, and worked in the corporate sector for five years. He was the lead author of An Introduction to Administrative Law, Principles of Tort Law in Malaysia, Administrative Law in Malaysia, Equity and Trusts in Malaysia (1st edn, 2005) and Malaysian Tort Law. He was the Contributing Editor to the Tort and Administrative Law titles for Halsbury’s Laws of Malaysia, and served as the Advisory Editor for Judicial Review Handbook.

Mohsin Hingun LLB (Hons), LLM, PhD, of Lincoln’s Inn, Barrister, is currently an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, International Islamic University Malaysia. He first joined IIUM in 1987 serving until 2000, and rejoined them in 2008. In between the stints at IIUM, he was a Senior Lecturer and later an Associate Professor at the University of Mauritius, where he also served as its Head of the Law Department. He was the lead author for Equity and Trusts in Malaysia (2nd edn, 2013), as well as co-author of An Introduction to Administrative Law, Principles of Tort Law in Malaysia and Malaysian Tort Law. He has previously served as the editor of the IIUM Law Journal, and the Head of IIUM’s Private Law Department.

Both Wan Azlan and Mohsin have also published numerous articles, individually and jointly, in a range of journals including The Malayan Law Journal, the Current Law Journal, the British Tax Review, the International Construction Law Review, the IIUM Law Journal and the Journal of Applied Sciences Research.


  • Examination of the general law, and their application in respect of the selected professions.
  • Guidance on the possible development of local law for difficult issues without settled local authorities.
  • Specific duties arising either at common law, equity or under legislation in relation to the selected professions.
  • Standard of care, and the relevancy of qualification and experience.
  • The conditions, and limits, of the tests developed in Caparo Industries v Dickman and Smith v Eric Bush.
  • The importance of a retainer and the application of the SAAMCO principle.
  • The law regarding confidentiality.
  • The application of limitation in claims for latent defects in buildings.
  • Remedies for breach of fiduciary obligations.
  • Quantification of damages. 


Part I: General Principles
1. Duties in Contract and Tort
2. Fiduciary Obligations
3. Duties under Written Law
Part II: Duty and Breach
4. Surveyors
5. Construction Professionals
6. Accountants and Auditors
7. Doctors
8. Lawyers
Part III: Remedies and Damages
9. Remedies
10. Damages for Breach of Duty