Call me back

Your guide to solicitor negligence

Solicitor with client

When you’ve enlisted the help of a solicitor to manage your legal issues, you’re relying on them to provide the best possible service. As a client, you expect them to use all their professional expertise to secure the best possible outcome for you.

While many solicitors provide services of a very high standard, there are still occasions when solicitors make mistakes or act negligently when representing a client. Perhaps they’ve sued the wrong party, made an error in drafting a document or under-settled in a claim – whatever the mistake, the repercussions for the client can be severe.

In these instances, there may be grounds for the client to sue their solicitor for professional negligence.

What is professional negligence?

To understand whether your solicitor was negligent, you need to be aware of what constitutes professional negligence. By law, professional negligence is when a professional fails to perform their responsibilities to the standard expected of them. This failure to meet the duty of care they owe to their client must also cause financial loss for it to be classed as negligent.

If you’re planning to pursue a professional negligence claim against your solicitor, you’ll need to prove three things:

  • That you were owed a duty of care by the professional
  • That the professional breached that duty of care
  • That this breach resulted in financial losses to you

At Your Legal Friend, we understand just how overwhelming it can be to consider a professional negligence claim against your solicitor who is likely to have years of experience in dealing with the intricacies of the law. Our expert team of highly experienced professional negligence solicitors will make the process as stress-free as possible and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

The difference between solicitors and barristers

Some clients are represented by both a solicitor and a barrister, but when it comes to negligence, they’re unsure who was at fault. Here are the differences between the two professions:

  • Barristers are in-court advocates – the professionals that appear in court wearing a wig and gown, arguing a case before the judge or jury. Barristers don’t tend to communicate with their client as much as solicitors do.
  • Solicitors prepare court cases for trial and liaise closely with the client outside of the courtroom. They also instruct the barrister, providing them with the information necessary for them to make their case in front of the judge.

There are exceptions in some cases, but these are the broad definitions of both roles. Both solicitors and barristers can have professional negligence claims brought against them.

Professional negligence claims against solicitors

So what constitutes negligence by a solicitor? Every case will be different, just as every client’s circumstances are unique. However, there are a number of common examples of negligence:

  • Your solicitor missed the limitation date for your case
  • Your solicitor incorrectly drafted a lease, a will or another important legal document
  • Your solicitor sued the wrong party
  • Your solicitor failed to service a notice by a certain deadline
  • Your solicitor failed to offer the correct advice about planning permission or building regulations
  • Your solicitor under-settled your personal injury claim

Of course, this is not the exhaustive list, and there are many other examples of negligence. To discover whether you have a valid claim, contact us to discuss your circumstances and next steps.

The consequences of negligence by solicitors

Solicitors acting negligently can cause a raft of problems for their client, financially and personally. A solicitor incorrectly drafting a will could leave a deceased client’s children without their rightful inheritance. A solicitor wrongfully under-settling a personal injury claim could leave their client out of pocket. A solicitor who fails to offer the correct advice about planning permission could even leave their client homeless.

Claiming against a property solicitor

If you’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of negligence on the part of your solicitor, you may be able to make a compensation claim that will see your losses recovered. Our expert professional negligence solicitors will help you determine whether the errors made by your solicitor were negligent, as well as considering how best to pursue your claim and recover the compensation you deserve.

So that we can represent you effectively, we’ll need to know the following things:

  • The name of your solicitor
  • When you instructed them
  • What you instructed them to do
  • How you think they were negligent
  • The estimated value of the loss you suffered as a result of their negligent actions

Once you’ve supplied us with these details, we can start investigating the case and advising you on your next steps. Most solicitors have professional indemnity insurance which will ensure you recover the full amount from them when you win your case.

If we discover that your solicitor’s mistakes didn’t amount to negligence in the eyes of the law, we’d advise taking the matter to the Legal Ombudsman, the body in charge of complaints against solicitors. This body does have the power to award compensation where inadequate services were provided, and this is a viable option for clients whose claims wouldn’t be classed as negligence in court.

Time limitations

  • Professional negligence claims must be brought within six years of the day on which the negligent act occurred. If you haven’t brought a claim by this deadline, you will be unable to do so.
  • Sometimes, claimants aren’t actually aware of the negligence when it first occurs, and so the first rule would be unfair to these people. In this instance, the claimant would have three years from the date of discovering the negligence to bring their claim to court.

How Your Legal Friend can help

We know that the prospect of taking a solicitor to court can be daunting. But our experienced team of professional negligence solicitors has the skills and experience to ensure your solicitor is held to account.  We’ll act quickly and provide you with sympathetic, practical, jargon-free advice to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of professional negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation