Philipp v Barclays: A Fraud too Far?


On 12th July 2023 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of Philipp v Barclays Bank [2023] UKSC 25 in which the Court allowed the bank’s appeal, granting it reverse summary judgment, effectively dismissing the claimant’s claim for negligence in relation to a fraud committed on the Philipps to the tune of £700,000. A residual part of the claim was allowed to stand.

In 2018 Mr and Mrs Philipp were persuaded by fraudsters to transfer £700,000 in two payments from Mrs Philipp's current account with the bank to accounts in the United Arab Emirates. The money was lost. Mrs Philipp claimed against the bank in negligence on the basis that the bank should not have carried out her payment instructions when it had reasonable grounds for believing she was a victim of fraud. The High Court (Judge Russen QC) granted summary judgment in favour of the bank: [2021] EWHC 10 (Comm). But the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by Mrs Philipp: [2022] EWCA Civ 318. The Court of Appeal accepted Mrs Philipp’s argument that, in principle, a bank owes a duty to its customer of the kind alleged, and that the issue of whether such a duty arose on the facts in this case was a question that could only be decided at a trial.

The Supreme Court held that the bank owed no such duty. Mrs Philipp’s alternative claim for the bank’s negligent failure to recall the moneys expeditiously was however allowed to proceed to trial.

This seminar considered the impact of the decision in the light of the recent run of cases where the courts have confirmed and applied the ‘Quincecare’ duty of care, including Singularis Holdings Ltd v Daiwa Capital Markets Europe Ltd [2019] UKSC 50; Nigeria v JP Morgan Chase Bank NA [2019] EWCA Civ 1641; JP SPC 4 v RBS International Ltd [2022] UKPC 18; and Stanford International Bank Ltd v HSBC [2022] UKSC 34, and ask whether the courts are now rowing back from the fullest extent of a bank’s duty of care to protect its customers from fraud, and it considers the extent to which victims of fraud may be able to formulate a claim against a bank based on other collateral allegations of negligence as has happened in the case of Philipp.