Professional negligence claims against solicitors and barristers have become more common in recent years.
We have extensive experience in dealing with claims against solicitors and barristers and we recognise that in looking to bring a potential negligence claim, clients have already had a very difficult experience and been let down by a professional they trusted to act on their behalf.
When acting for clients, solicitors and barristers have a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill and are judged by the standard of a reasonably competent solicitor or barrister specialising in the area of law in which they practice and hold themselves out as having expertise in. For example, a property law solicitor acting for you in relation to the purchase of a property will be judged by the standard of a reasonably competent property solicitor.
Please read our Professional Negligence FAQs for the relevant test to be applied when considering whether you have a potential negligence claim. In summary, to be successful it must be proved that (1) you were owed a duty of care by the solicitor and/or barrister, (2) they breached their duty of care and (3) the breach caused a loss.
Please see below some examples of solicitor and barrister negligence:
- Missing court deadlines resulting in their client’s claim being struck out
- Failing to commence proceedings within the limitation period
- Missing key time limits
- Incorrect or out-of-date advice
- Delay in carrying out instructions
- Failing to comply with a court order
- Administrative mistakes
- Failing to recover sufficient compensation and/or under settling a claim
- Failing to obtain all the necessary evidence for their client’s claim
- Failing to warn of all the risks in a transaction
- Negligent advice relating to property transactions including failing to advise on rights of way when purchasing a property, failing to advice on onerous terms in leases, completing transactions too soon or too late etc.
- Not keeping the details of their client’s matter confidential or acting when there is a conflict of interest
- Negligent drafting of proceedings
- Negligent advice on prospects of success
- Incorrect or out-of-date advice on legal principles
- Failing to determine the appropriate remedy
- Delays in drafting proceedings resulting in time limits being missed
- Incorrect advice on the value of their client’s claim
- Negligence in court representation/attendance at hearings
Solicitors and barristers will usually have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance so that, assuming liability is established, claimants will be able to recover some or all of their loss and the majority of their legal costs of bringing the claim. In any event, we provide our clients with clear advice about costs and the various ways of funding a professional negligence claim, alongside strategic and commercial advice at every step of the case.
Partner and Head of Department
Fiona Simpson (Français)