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Professional Negligence Claims Against Solicitors & Lawyers

Solicitors are often entrusted to deal with important life events such as providing for inheritance, buying and selling property or seeking compensation after a personal injury or medical accident. Although the advice given is usually of the highest quality, things occasionally do go wrong – and the consequences can be very distressing.

Don’t be put off by the prospect of making a claim against a solicitor. They may be legal experts, but they are also subject to a strict code of conduct which they must follow. Solicitors must also be insured to meet professional negligence claims.

You may be able to sue your solicitor for professional negligence if they have failed to provide legal services to an acceptable standard. Whether it arises from a business or private matter, our experts can help you make a claim if it has arisen in the last six years.

Do you have a claim?

Common examples of scenarios in which you may be able to make a claim against a solicitor include those where they:

  • Missed a deadline, e.g. a limitation date by which court proceedings must be started (usually 3 years for a personal injury claim and 6 years for a claim for negligence or breach of a contract)
  • Negligently prepared a will
  • Failed to carry out appropriate property searches during a conveyancing transaction
  • Failed to advise on burdensome annual Ground Rent obligations owed by the leaseholder to the freeholder (a common problem with New Build properties)
  • Failed to advise of adverse rights affecting a property you are buying
  • Advising you to under settle a Personal Injury claim for less than it was worth
  • Given bad advice on a settlement deal or Part 36 offer
  • Given bad advice on matrimonial assets
  • Caused adverse costs orders to be made against you in a court case
  • Failed to advise on your full range of funding options for litigation

The circumstances in which you could bring a professional negligence claim against a solicitor are not limited to those listed above. Our friendly and approachable team can advise you on the best course of action to suit your case, so don't hesitate to get in touch today.

What Do I Need to Consider?

All law firms must have a complaints process, details of which should be given at the outset of the case. The complaints process can be helpful, especially if your claim has a modest value. You do not need a lawyer to assist you through the complaints process.

There is also a Legal Services Ombudsman (LeO), which is a government appointed service to resolve disputes between law firms and their clients. Its use is not compulsory, although it generally offers a quicker process than going to court. In some cases, it may be preferable to proceed without the involvement of the Ombudsman service.

To prove a claim, it is usually necessary to have sight of the solicitors’ file relating to your matter. Files can be either physical or electronic, and both are present in most cases. A usual first step in assessing a claim against a law firm is to obtain the client’s file of papers for the firm in question. A request can easily be made under the General Data Protection Regulations / Data Protection Act. Depending on your preference, you could either do this yourself or enlist us to do it for you.

If the law firm does not respond within the required timeframe, then a complaint can be made to the Information Commissioner’s office, which has enforcement powers. Law firms are obliged to keep their clients' files for six years after the conclusion of the case – many firms keep them for longer. If you're considering bringing a claim against a law firm, then obtaining your file of papers from them is an important first step in evaluating the strength of your claim.

What Do We Need to Prove?

In order to win your case, we need to establish that:

  • The solicitor owed a duty to you
  • The standard of service fell below that of a reasonably competent solicitor
  • You have suffered a financial loss as a direct result

Start Your Claim Today

If you have experienced professional negligence at the hands of a solicitor, contact Claims Against today. Our experts can assess the strength of your case and help secure compensation. Give us a call on 0800 374 514, send us an email via info@claimsagainst.co.uk or complete our contact form.

Case Study

The claimant, a restaurant business, had engaged solicitors to bring a claim arising from a dispute about payment for the sale of the business, including goodwill and premises. Following a long trial, the claimant lost and was ordered by the court to pay significant damages and costs.

The claimant instructed us because they believed they had lost the case due to negligence on the part of their solicitor. Furthermore, the solicitor had failed to follow instructions to arrange After the Event (ATE) Litigation Insurance for the claimant. Had the solicitor done so, then the six-figure sum which the claimant was obliged to pay to the other party would have been covered by insurance.

We were able to achieve a six-figure award for the claimant and did so at an early stage by mediating with the negligent law firm's professional indemnity insurers.