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Barrister Negligence Claims and Compensation

Barrister negligence explained.

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I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E.Swaffield
Loughborough

Making a claim for barrister negligence

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.

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Our expert team will call you...

Our Financial, Property and Professional Claims team is headed by senior solicitor Claire Critchley who has over 10 years’ experience dealing with complex legal claims against a variety of professionals.

This includes claims against surveyors, architects, estate agents and solicitors, in addition to dealing with financial disputes involving mis-sold mortgages and interest rate swaps.

Request a callback that suits you

When would you like us to call?

This is not about a claims culture. We just want to defend the rights of the people who are suffering because of this.

Claire Critchley

Head of Professional Negligence

What our customers say

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“I found the staff to be friendly, helpful, courteous and they kept me well informed on a regular basis”

Mrs. Vora,
Loughborough

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“They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently”

Mr Dowse
Leeds

  For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today 0151 550 5228

10 simple steps to claim

Step
1
Understanding what went wrong
Step
2
Reviewing relevant documents
Step
3
Obtaining an initial response to your grievance
Step
4
Sending the Letter of Claim
Step
5
The professional’s detailed response
Step
86
Issuing court proceedingsTaking a detailed statement
Step
7
Obtaining experts’ reports
Step
68
Taking a detailed statementIssuing court proceedings
Step
9
Attending your court trial
Step
10
Awarding your compensation claim

Your questions... answered

What is barrister negligence?

Professionals of all kinds, including Barristers are subject to the law and according to English law, professional negligence is when a professional fails to perform his or her responsibilities to the standard expected of them. If you’ve paid to be represented by a Barrister, and they fail to meet professional standards, and you lose out as a result, you might be able to bring a Barrister negligence claim.

In order to bring a professional negligence claim of this kind, you need to prove the following things:

  • That you were owed a duty of care by the Barrister
  • That the Barrister breached that duty of care
  • That this breach caused a financial loss to you

Often these points can be proved through exchanged paperwork, contracts and communication which we can help you to organise if we think you have a case.

In some cases where mistakes are made, you may be able to raise this with your barrister and often they’ll try to make amends. But when you experience a serious loss, or your Barrister refuses to acknowledge their mistake, making a professional negligence claim against them may be your only option.

Some examples of Barrister negligence include:

  • Providing clients with the wrong advice – where they misinterpret the law on a specific case and give you the wrong guidance
  • Drafting documents improperly – when the Barrister fails to include important points in court documents
  • Negligently representing a client in court or during mediation – where a Barrister presents the wrong facts, fails to prepare for the case or doesn’t show up to represent a client

This isn’t an exhaustive list, as the law is complex and the scope for mistakes to be made is wide. If you’re unsure if you have a case, request a free call back and we’ll discuss your circumstances with you to see whether making a claim is a suitable option.

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What's the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?

Some clients are unsure of the difference between solicitors and barristers and wonder who may be at fault in their case. The difference between the two professions is:

  • Solicitors mainly carry out legal work outside of the courtroom, liaising with the client and instructing the barrister.
  • Barristers are the in-court advocates (recognisable by their wig and gown). They argue cases before judges and juries, and generally don’t come into contact with the public as much as solicitors do.

Of course, there are exceptions in some cases, where a professional may be both a solicitor and barrister. Both professions can be sued under a professional negligence claim.

How long does a barrister negligence claim take?

Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim.  Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get your file of papers from the architect in question, and any expert reports required, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.

Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you.  This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time.  Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.

We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.

Are there time limitations to bringing a claim against a barrister?

Claims against Barristers and other professionals 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. There is also a ‘long stop’ date of fifteen years from the act of negligence. If this date passes, you will not be able to bring the claim, regardless of when you found out about the negligence. If you’re unsure then, it’s often wise to enquire with us, free of charge, to see whether you have a claim to make before you time is up.

Professionals of all kinds, including Barristers are subject to the law and according to English law, professional negligence is when a professional fails to perform his or her responsibilities to the standard expected of them. If you’ve paid to be represented by a Barrister, and they fail to meet professional standards, and you lose out as a result, you might be able to bring a Barrister negligence claim.

In order to bring a professional negligence claim of this kind, you need to prove the following things:

  • That you were owed a duty of care by the Barrister
  • That the Barrister breached that duty of care
  • That this breach caused a financial loss to you

Often these points can be proved through exchanged paperwork, contracts and communication which we can help you to organise if we think you have a case.

In some cases where mistakes are made, you may be able to raise this with your barrister and often they’ll try to make amends. But when you experience a serious loss, or your Barrister refuses to acknowledge their mistake, making a professional negligence claim against them may be your only option.

Some examples of Barrister negligence include:

  • Providing clients with the wrong advice – where they misinterpret the law on a specific case and give you the wrong guidance
  • Drafting documents improperly – when the Barrister fails to include important points in court documents
  • Negligently representing a client in court or during mediation – where a Barrister presents the wrong facts, fails to prepare for the case or doesn’t show up to represent a client

This isn’t an exhaustive list, as the law is complex and the scope for mistakes to be made is wide. If you’re unsure if you have a case, request a free call back and we’ll discuss your circumstances with you to see whether making a claim is a suitable option.

Read less

Some clients are unsure of the difference between solicitors and barristers and wonder who may be at fault in their case. The difference between the two professions is:

  • Solicitors mainly carry out legal work outside of the courtroom, liaising with the client and instructing the barrister.
  • Barristers are the in-court advocates (recognisable by their wig and gown). They argue cases before judges and juries, and generally don’t come into contact with the public as much as solicitors do.

Of course, there are exceptions in some cases, where a professional may be both a solicitor and barrister. Both professions can be sued under a professional negligence claim.

Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim.  Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get your file of papers from the architect in question, and any expert reports required, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.

Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you.  This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time.  Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.

We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.

Claims against Barristers and other professionals 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. There is also a ‘long stop’ date of fifteen years from the act of negligence. If this date passes, you will not be able to bring the claim, regardless of when you found out about the negligence. If you’re unsure then, it’s often wise to enquire with us, free of charge, to see whether you have a claim to make before you time is up.