Judith Hawarden lost her money when criminals intercepted an email sent to her account from ENS and replaced the law firm's banking details with hers.  Picture ideal.  (Witthaya Prasongsin)

Judith Hawarden lost her money when criminals intercepted an email sent to her account from ENS and replaced the law firm’s banking details with hers. Picture ideal. (Witthaya Prasongsin)

A Johannesburg property buyer, who lost R5.5 million in a cyber fraud scandal, has had law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenberg (ENS) reverse an attempt to recover funds.

Judith Hawarden lost her money when criminals intercepted an email sent to her account from ENS and replaced the law firm’s banking details with hers. He then unwittingly paid the funds to the fraudsters, who promptly disappeared with his money.

Hawarden then took ENS to court, arguing that she owed a duty of care to inform her of the risks of business email compromise. While it won its initial case against the law firm at the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has now ruled that ENS cannot be held liable for the loss.

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