Professional Negligence Claims against Solicitors
Like any other professional service, when you employ the services of a solicitor, you are entitled to expect work to be carried out to a certain standard. Nonetheless, if the relationship deteriorates, and they neglect to carry out their crucial obligations, like representing your best interests or providing you with accurate guidance, you retain the right to pursue a compensation claim against them.
If you can relate to this situation, you may wish to consider consulting a specialised professional negligence solicitor for assistance. Such a lawyer can assess your legal case and inform you on whether you have grounds to file a successful claim against your solicitor for their negligent conduct.
At Annecto Legal, we assist clients by helping them to find the appropriate legal guidance, representation and funding for their professional negligence case.
What is professional negligence by a solicitor?
All solicitors owe a standard of care to their clients to ensure that they provide their legal services to a good standard. Professional negligence by a solicitor occurs when a solicitor fails to perform their duties to the required standard of care expected of them, resulting in harm or loss to their client.
This can include a wide range of errors or omissions, such as providing incorrect legal advice, failing to meet crucial deadlines, breaching client confidentiality, or mishandling client funds. Professional negligence claims against solicitors are typically made by clients who have suffered financial losses as a result of their solicitor’s negligence.
Examples of solicitors’ professional negligence
Professional negligence claims against solicitors can arise for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common incidents we see that can lead to a potential claim include:
- Missing limitation dates
- Failure to conduct a proper investigation leading to an unfair settlement
- Providing incorrect legal advice
- Under-settling a claim
- Failing to comply with a court order
- Failing to instruct the correct barrister to represent you at court
- Making a procedural error
- Missing an important deadline
- Acting against your instructions
These are just some of the most common reasons for professional negligence claims against solicitors, and you may still be eligible to make a claim for negligence which has not been listed above.
What is the role of a professional negligence solicitor?
The role of a professional negligence solicitor is to represent clients who have suffered harm or loss as a result of the negligent conduct of a professional, such as a solicitor. Their primary aim is to help clients obtain compensation for their losses by pursuing legal action against the negligent party. Specifically, professional negligence solicitors will:
- Assess the validity of the client’s claim: The solicitor will review the client’s case and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a claim of professional negligence.
- Gather evidence: The solicitor will assist in gathering all necessary evidence, such as documents, correspondence, and witness statements to support the client’s claim.
- Communicate with the other party: The solicitor will communicate with the other party or their legal representative to negotiate a settlement or prepare for litigation.
- Represent the client in court: If a settlement cannot be reached, the solicitor may represent the client in court and argue their case before a judge or jury.
Overall, a professional negligence solicitor serves as an advocate for clients who have been harmed by the negligent conduct of a professional, helping them to obtain compensation for their losses and hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.
What is the process of making professional negligence claims against solicitors?
The first step of bringing a claim against a solicitor is to establish that the solicitor was negligent in their duties. This may involve showing that they breached their duty of care to the client, failed to provide adequate advice or made errors that resulted in financial losses or other harm. The claim will be made against the solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance.
In order to establish negligence, the claimant will need to gather evidence. This may include correspondence with the solicitor, contracts, receipts, and other relevant documents.
If the solicitor admits liability, negotiations may take place to agree on a settlement amount. If negotiations fail, the client may choose to take legal action by issuing court proceedings. This may involve preparing a claim form, witness statements, and other evidence to be presented in court.
If the solicitor denies liability, the claimant may need to consider pursuing the matter through the courts.
Once court proceedings have been issued, the case will be heard by a judge. The judge will consider the evidence presented and make a decision on liability and/or damages.
It is important to note that the time limitation period for clients making professional negligence claims against solicitors begins from the date on which they suffered a financial loss. Claimants have six years from this date to make a claim.
Funding a professional negligence case
If you are pursuing a professional negligence case, legal costs can escalate quickly. Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of the funding options that are available to you. Funding professional negligence claims against solicitors can be a complex process and will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Listed below are some of the options for funding a professional negligence case.
- Conditional fee agreements – Conditional fee agreements (CFAs), also known as ‘no win, no fee agreements’, are a type of funding arrangement that allows individuals to pursue a claim without paying legal fees upfront. Under a no win no fee basis, the law firm agrees to take on the case and only charges a fee if the case is successful. If the case is unsuccessful, the client does not have to pay these legal fees.
- Contingency fee agreement – Some professional negligence solicitors may offer to take on a professional negligence case on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will only charge a fee if they are successful in securing a financial settlement or damages. The fee payable to the solicitor is usually a percentage of the amount recovered, and if the case is unsuccessful, the law firm will not charge a fee.
- After the event insurance – After the event (ATE) insurance is a type of insurance that can provide cover for legal costs in the event that a case is unsuccessful. This option can be particularly useful in cases where t the costs of losing a case could be significant. ATE insurance is often used in conjunction with conditional fee agreements.
- Third party litigation funding – In some cases, third party litigation funders may be willing to provide funding for a professional negligence case in exchange for a percentage of any financial settlement or damages awarded. This option can be attractive for individual who cannot afford to pay for legal fees themselves but have a strong case.
How can Annecto Legal assist?
At Annecto Legal, we assist these clients in finding the right legal representation and funding for pursuing a professional negligence action against another lawyer.
With the right legal team, it is then possible to put in place the appropriate litigation funding and insurance to take the case all the way to court, if necessary. Of course, the preference is always to find a suitable settlement in a reasonable time frame, but the best way to achieve this is to negotiate from a position of strength. Having the best lawyers and being fully funded gives you that strength and forces your opponent to the negotiating table.
Annecto Legal helps clients realise the value of their professional negligence cases. We work closely with litigation funders, insurers and professional negligence solicitors that seek alternatives to the traditional hourly rate funding model.
If you are in the process of suing a solicitor or believe your solicitors have been negligent and want to find out whether you’ve got a claim, then contact Annecto Legal now. We can help find you the right representation, as well as managing your financial risks and sourcing funding for your legal fees.
Unfortunately, because of the high costs of legal actions in the UK, we only assist in disputes which are valued at over £250,000, at the absolute minimum. We would like to be able to help on other claims, but we just don’t have access to any products that can assist on smaller matters.
Get in touch
* Annecto Legal can only assist on case where the loss is in excess of £100,000, with the exception of data breach claims. If you need assistance on a claim worth over £100,000, please get in touch using our form or the details below:
Annecto Legal Ltd, 106 Kennedy Building, Murray Street, Manchester , M4 6HS
0800 612 6587