While the vast majority of barristers provide a very high standard of service to their clients, there are occasions where barristers make mistakes. An incorrectly drafted court document, negligent advice given to the client, or the failure to provide adequate representation can lead to catastrophic outcomes for the client.
In these instances, there could be grounds for the client to sue their barrister for professional negligence.
Barristers are relied upon to provide the highest standards of expertise within a court of law, where they’re called upon to represent the best interests of their clients. The public place their trust in barristers to fight their corner and help them navigate the complex labyrinth of the UK courts.
Unfortunately, there are situations where a barrister’s negligence can affect the outcome of a client’s case. If you feel your barrister did not carry out their job properly, and their actions or inaction influenced a negative verdict in your case, you may be able to make a claim for professional negligence.
A barrister is classed as negligent if they provide an incorrect opinion on a point of law, incorrectly draft important legal documents, or offer inadequate representation in court. If you believe your barrister’s representation fell below these expected standards, we can help you make a professional negligence claim which could see you compensated for any losses you have incurred as a result.
The consequences of barrister negligence
When barristers are negligent, the outcome can be incredibly damaging for the client. For example, a barrister in a civil case may offer their client incorrect legal advice which could cause them a financial loss. This can be very stressful and could lead to further problems for the client. Bringing a case against this barrister could ensure that the client not only recovers their losses but is also compensated for the stress they were put through.
Barristers fighting criminal cases can also have negligence claims brought against them, though this usually means an appeal against a conviction rather than a compensation award.
Professional negligence claims against barristers
It used to be that barristers were protected from professional negligence claims – but since a landmark decision in 2000, claims against barristers are allowed if they provide negligent advice. Clients may be able to make a claim if:
- They believe they have been given incorrect legal advice by a barrister in an opinion or a client conference.
- They believe they have been inadequately represented in court because a barrister was negligent, or because of incorrectly drafted court documents.
- They believe they have been poorly represented by a barrister in mediation.
- They received a barrister’s opinion late, resulting in a financial loss to the client.
You can make a claim against a barrister for either contentious or non-contentious work. Contentious work may include advice in a clinical negligence claim or an action against the police, while non-contentious work includes issues such as tax advice, probate and conveyancing.
Making a claim against your barrister
If you’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of negligent advice or inadequate representation by your barrister, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Our expert professional negligence solicitors will help you determine whether the errors made by your barrister 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:
- Who was your barrister?
- What was your barrister instructed to do?
- Why do you think the barrister was negligent?
- What is the value of the loss you’ve suffered as a result?
Once you’ve supplied us with these details, we can start investigating the case and advising you on your next steps. Most barristers have professional indemnity insurance which will ensure you recover the full amount from them when you win your case.
If we find that the barrister’s services didn’t amount to negligence, we could still help you to bring a complaint out of court. The Bar Standards Board is a strand of the regulator body for barristers, and if there’s sufficient evidence, they can conduct an investigation into your barrister. This could result in a written warning, a fine or even a tribunal for the barrister – but the Bar Standards Board can refuse to investigate if there’s already a professional negligence case in progress.
You can report a barrister to the Bar Standards Board if your barrister:
- Misled the court during your case.
- Breached confidentiality.
- Acted dishonestly.
Discriminated against you because of your gender, race, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, marital status or age.