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Professional Negligence

If you have been let down by a professional advisor, such as a solicitor, accountant or surveyor, our professional negligence lawyers can help you to claim compensation.

Home » Personal Law » Personal Disputes » Professional Negligence

People make mistakes but errors by professionals can have serious consequences.

If you have lost money or suffered financial harm because of the actions or bad advice of a professional advisor, you may be able to claim damages for professional negligence.

Our Services

Our professional negligence solicitors are experts in their field and advise you on:

Lawyer negligence

  • Solicitors
  • Barristers
  • Conveyancers/will writers
  • Under-settled claims

Financial negligence

  • Accountants
  • Financial advisors/IFAs
  • Insurance brokers

Property negligence 

  • Surveyors/valuers
  • Architects
  • Structural engineers

Other professionals

  • Local authorities
  • Veterinary surgeons/vets

Our Professional Negligence Solicitors

Our professional negligence solicitors are experienced dispute resolution lawyers and members of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA).

Our partner-led team has a proven track record of success and will always give you clear and straightforward advice. Our aim is to settle your claim as soon as possible and we are experts in mediation all other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Most claims are settled without the need for court proceedings but, where this is not possible, our professional negligence solicitors are experienced and formidable litigators.

Funding for Professional Negligence claims

In appropriate cases we will share the risk with you through flexible and innovative funding arrangements, including:

  • Conditional fee agreements (CFAs) (also known as “no win, no fee” agreements)
  • Discounted CFAs (also known as “no win, low fee” agreements)
  • Fixed and capped fees
  • Competitive hourly rate charges
  • Legal expenses (“after-the-event” or “ATE”) insurance to cover the risk of having to pay costs to the other side (and your own expenses) if your claim is unsuccessful
  • Disbursement funding for expenses such as court fees and expert’s fees

If a claim is suitable for funding by a full CFA with ATE legal expenses insurance and a disbursement funding loan, it will involve no up-front costs to you and you will have nothing to pay if the claim is unsuccessful.

We will talk to you about these options for funding your case but you can find further details here.

Examples of recent claims

  • A six-figure claim for damages against a prominent firm of personal injury and medical negligence solicitors in relation to an under-settled clinical negligence claim. The client was wrongly advised to settle his claim for negligent medical treatment on a split-liability basis with the result that the damages he recovered were reduced by 70%. The claim was settled.
     
  • Claims against a law firm for clients who between them faced seven-figure liabilities for costs as a result of the law firm’s failure to ensure that adequate “after-the-event” (ATE) legal expenses insurance cover was obtained in relation to industrial disease test cases. The claims were recently settled.
     
  • A large six-figure claim against a firm of accountants for negligently advising a client to invest large sums of money into an off-shore Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) as a tax avoidance scheme.
     
  • A claim against conveyancing solicitors for failing to properly advise on the purchase of numerous residential properties. The firm failed to take proper instructions from or to advise the client in relation to the substantial liabilities she incurred in relation to what turned out to be a complex mortgage fraud.
     
  • A substantial claim against a Local Authority on behalf of a minor siblings for harm, including psychological injury, relating to the failure of their Social Services to adequately protect them by taking care proceedings sooner.
     
  • A claim against solicitors who badly advised a client on a co-ownership of property dispute with his former partner, resulting in the client incurring a six-figure liability for costs. The claim was settled by the law firm.


To find out how our Professional Negligence lawyers can help you, contact us on 01482 320620, request a call back or enquire online.

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Mike Wilson
Partner

T: 01482 320 620

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How can I help you?
Rob Ripley
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View All FAQs
FAQs
What is professional negligence?
Professional negligence is where a professional fails to perform his responsibilities to the required standard. This if often where a professional advisor, such as a solicitor, accountant or surveyor, gives incorrect or incomplete advice or fails to act, for instance by missing a deadline.
Who can a claim be brought against?
A claim for professional negligence can brought against any professional advisor but most the most common are claims against solicitors, barristers, conveyancers, surveyors, valuers, architects, builders, accountants, engineers, financial advisors, insurance brokers, will writers and local authorities. In many cases, professional advisors will have professional indemnity insurance to cover such claims, even if they are no longer trading (known as “run off cover”).
Do I have a claim for professional negligence?
Negligence is more than just poor service by a professional advisor. In order for a claim to succeed it is necessary to show that the professional owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that this caused a loss. A professional advisor will usually owe their client a duty of care. The standard required of a professional is not one of perfection and the mere fact of an error does not necessarily constitute negligence. A professional will only breach their duty of care by making an error which no reasonable member of their profession, in their circumstances, would have made. Even then, a professional may have acted negligently, but a claim will only succeed if their actions or advice caused the loss suffered by the business.
What can I do about poor service by a Professional Advisor?
Most professional advisors will have their own complaints procedure or a complaint can be referred to a professional or trade body, such as the Legal Ombudsman for solicitors or barristers, the ICAEW for accountants or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for surveyors.
How is my claim assessed?
We will start by taking your detailed instructions about the case, usually either by meeting with you or by phone. We will also talk to you about funding options and agree how the claim (or at least the first stages of work) will be funded. It will often then be necessary for us to obtain and review any files or other relevant documents held by your professional advisor. It may also be necessary for us to obtain evidence from an expert (such as an accountant, surveyor or a medical expert) to assess the value of your claim. We will then be in a position to advise you on the merits of your claim and to agree a case plan.
Will I have to pay anything/what will it cost?
We will talk to you about costs at the outset and carry out a full risk assessment. In appropriate cases, professional negligence claims can be funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) (also known as a “no win, no fee” agreement). What this means is that you do not pay anything to us unless your claim is successful. If your claim is successful, most (but not all) of our costs are usually recoverable from the other side. Any shortfall and our “success fee” (an agreed percentage uplift) are deducted from your damages (up to an agreed cap). You can also take out after-the-event” or “ATE” legal expenses insurance against the risk of having to pay costs to the other side (and your own expenses) if your claim is unsuccessful and disbursement funding for expenses such as court fees and expert’s fees. Other flexible funding options are also available.
How much can I claim?
Damages can be claimed as compensation for any loss resulting from the negligent actions or advice. Damages for professional negligence are intended to put you in the position you would have been but for the negligence. This is found by comparing what your position would have been if there had been no negligence and your actual position. This can include any financial loss (including lost profit or additional costs), a reduction in value of property or other assets and, in some cases, damages for physical or psychological harm.
How long will my claim take?
It depends, but our aim is to settle your claim as soon as possible. In most cases the professional advisor (or their insurer) will have up to 3 months to consider, investigate and respond to a Letter of Claim, so some claims are settled within or shortly after this period. If the claim cannot be settled and is contested to trial, this could take 12-18 months or longer in exceptional cases.
Will I need to attend court?
Most claims are settled without the need for court proceedings to be issued and, of those that are not, the vast majority are settled before trial. But if a claim cannot be settled and is contested to trial, it is expected that you (as the claimant and a key witness) will attend court and give evidence at trial.
Are there any time limits?
Yes, in most cases a claim must be brought within 6 years from the date of the negligence. However, in cases where the negligence only becomes apparent at a later stage, this may be extended to 3 years from the date of knowledge of the facts which might give rise to the claim. There is a long-stop date of 15 years. After these limitation periods expire any claim will be statute barred and cannot be pursued. It is therefore important to seek legal advice quickly if you think you may have a claim for professional negligence.