How to sue a solicitor – professional negligence claims against solicitors

by | Jun 28, 2019 | Blog Posts

Solicitors look after us when we are dealing with some of the most difficult aspects of our lives. From buying our homes and making our wills; to setting up a business or resolving disputes with employers, neighbours, or others. Usually everything will go without a hitch. But what happens if a mistake happens? Can you sue a solicitor? The answer is yes. Our professional negligence team have many years of experience in bringing claims against other solicitors.

We answer some Frequently Asked Questions about claims against solicitors.

What can I do if I have received poor service?

Poor service from a solicitor could be anything from poor communication, to issues with the fees you have been charged. While this can be extremely frustrating, it is unlikely to be negligent on its own. The firm’s internal complaints procedure should be your first port of call. If this does not resolve your complaint, the Legal Ombudsman can look at the case and resolve the issue.

Can I sue my solicitor?

To successfully bring a professional negligence claim against your solicitor, you will need to show that you have suffered more than just bad service. The solicitor must have done something (or failed to do something) that caused you a loss.

Examples of solicitor negligence include:

  • Failing to carry out a search on a purchase of a house.
  • Missing a court deadline or date, which leads you to lose your chance to pursue a claim
  • Providing incorrect legal advice
  • Poor drafting of a will, meaning you miss out on your inheritance

How much can I sue my solicitor for?

A professional negligence claim is usually a claim for damages. This is an amount to compensate you for the loss you suffered and should put you into the position you would have been if the solicitor had not acted negligently.

There are different ways of measuring damages in a professional negligence claim. Let’s take the example of a conveyancing negligence case. In many cases, you would claim for the difference in the price you paid for the house, and the price you would have paid had there not been an error. In other, albeit rarer, cases, your claim may be for the entire value of the house. Alternatively, you may have been able to pay another solicitor to rectify the issue. You can then claim these extra fees from your original solicitor.

Professional negligence claims against solicitors can be for any amount. We deal with claims from £10,000 to £100,000s.

Is there a time limit for bringing my claim?

Yes. As with all professional negligence claims, you have six years from the date of the negligence. If you find out about the negligence at a later stage, you will have three years from the date on which you found out about the negligence (or the end of the six years – whichever is later). Save for certain rare cases, there is a ‘long stop’ limit of 15 years from the date of the negligence for you to bring a claim.

I want to sue my solicitor for professional negligence. What do I need to do?

If you think your solicitor has been negligent, it is important to act as soon as possible. Call us today for a free, no obligation discussion about your case.

If we advise that your solicitor has indeed been negligent, we will work with you to resolve the issue, and pursue the previous solicitors, where appropriate.

Not all professional negligence claims end up in Court. Indeed, many are resolved beforehand by negotiating and mediating. Before rushing off to Court, claimants will usually send a letter of claim to the former solicitor, setting out the case against them. The former solicitors will have opportunity to respond, setting out their defence. This can often set the wheels in motion to start discussing a settlement, and many professional negligence claims against solicitors do not end up in court at all.

Is my solicitor insured?

All solicitors’ practices must have professional indemnity insurance. The insurer will likely pay the damages should your claim be successful.

We are experts in bringing professional negligence claims against solicitors. If you are concerned that your former solicitor has been negligent, contact us today on 0800 988 7756. We can have a free, no obligation chat with you about your claim.

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