Commonwealth Convergence Toward a Narrower Scope of Auditor Liability to Third Parties for Negligent Misstatements
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There have been fundamental shifts in the legal liabilities of auditors in the twentieth century. The article analyses myriad cases. It reveals that case rulings in the later decades moderated previous decisions that had resulted in an expansion of the scope of auditor liability. It shows that there has been a convergence in approach within Commonwealth nations in respect of auditor liability for negligent misstatements. Numerous factors are identified that explain, first the expansion of auditor liability in the early to middle decades of the twentieth century, and also its subsequent reversal in latter decades. The article concludes by arguing that the current positions not likely to remain. The decisions of the courts are shown to be the products of continual struggle to balance the respective rights and interests of auditors, investors (both current and prospective) and the wider community.