Paralegals Canada  


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Misrepresentation


Negligence misrepresentation involves the accidental passing of inaccurate information as opposed to intentional or fraudulent misrepresentation also known as deceit.

As with any cause of action based on negligence, the Defendant must owe a 'duty of care' to the Plaintiff.  In addition, the Defendant must fail to meet the 'standard of care' required; being that the negligence conduct falls below the level by which a reasonable person, with similar qualifications, is expected to behave.  More is required than simply just the accidental passing of inaccurate information that is relied upon - the accidental passing of inaccurate information must be predicated upon by a failure to do what the 'reasonable person' would do, or would avoid doing, when faced with similar circumstances.   

In regards to the 'duty of care' requirement, it is important to note that the representor must know that others may rely on the information put forth.  If the representor is without knowledge that others may rely on the information, legal action as the tort of negligent misrepresentation will fail.  Of course, the context of 'others' that may rely on the information can be quite broad and the representator may be directly unfamiliar with the 'others' relying on the , and possibly without any direct relationship.  For example, a representor may misstate information within a publication distributed to persons without direct relations to the representor.  In such circumstances, a negligent misrepresentation case may arise merely from the expectation that the representor 'knew' that persons specifically unknown, but persons in general, may rely on the representation     

As stated by the Supreme Court in Edgeworth Construction Ltd. v. N. D. Lea & Associates Ltd., [1993] 3 SCR 206:

Liability for negligent misrepresentation arises where a person makes a representation knowing that another may rely on it, and the plaintiff in fact relies on the representation to its detriment:  Hedley Byrne & Co. v. Heller & Partners Ltd., [1964] A.C. 465 and Haig v. Bamford, 1976 CanLII 6 (SCC), [1977] 1 S.C.R. 466.