Firstly, you’ll need to prove that the professional in question owes you a duty of care. If there’s a retainer or contractual agreement between the professional and the client, this can be used as evidence of this duty of care. In some cases, there may not be a written agreement or contract to fall back on – but if the professional has claimed to have particular expertise and is offering advice to a client, it can be assumed that they have this all-important duty of care.
In most cases, the claimant is the person who originally instructed the professional – but in certain circumstances, the professional may owe a duty of care to a third party (for example, a solicitor preparing a Will may owe a duty of care to their client’s relatives).
The next thing you’ll need to prove is that the original duty of care was breached by the professional. It’s important to make the distinction here between wrong advice and negligent advice, and it can be challenging to prove that negligence took place if the professional can claim that their advice or actions were the result of a difference in opinion. If the professional demonstrates that they acted in a way that their professional body approves of – even if the advice they gave was technically wrong – they may not be found to be negligent.
In order to establish a clear breach of duty, you must be able to show that their actions or advice fell below the standards one could expect of a reasonably competent professional in the same field – whether that professional is newly-qualified or has been in the business for decades.