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Professional Negligence Claims Against Lawyers

Professional Negligence Claims Against Lawyers

professional negligence claims against lawyers

Professional negligence claims against lawyers, also known as legal malpractice claims, arise when a lawyer fails to perform their legal duties to the required standard of care, resulting in harm or loss to their client.

Lawyers are highly trained and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Therefore, clients trust lawyers to manage their cases with diligence and expertise. When this trust is betrayed, the impact can be significant, leading to financial loss, reputational damage, and emotional distress.

At Annecto Legal, we connect clients with the right team of professional negligence solicitors, as well as securing litigation funding for your case. Our service is designed to ensure that any business or individual that has suffered financial losses as a result of professional negligence has the best possible opportunity to find redress.

Examples of professional negligence made by lawyers

Professional negligence claims against lawyers can arise from various situations where the lawyer fails to fulfil their duty of care to the client. Here are a few examples:

  • Missed deadlines – Failing to file court documents, appeals, or other critical paperwork within specified deadlines can lead to a client’s case being dismissed or adversely affected.

 

  • Inadequate investigation and preparation – A lawyer who fails to adequately investigate the facts of a case or prepare for a trial can be deemed negligent.

 

  • Poor legal advice – Providing misleading or incorrect legal advice that leads to a client’s financial loss or other harm constitutes professional negligence.

 

  • Conflicts of interest – Lawyers must avoid conflicts of interest that can compromise their loyalty to a client. Representing multiple clients with opposing interests without proper disclosure and consent can result in negligent representation.

 

  • Failure to communicate – Not keeping a client informed about the status of their case, failing to obtain necessary client consent for significant decisions, or not responding to client inquiries can be considered negligence.

 

  • Mismanagement of client funds – Misappropriating or improperly handling client funds is a severe form of professional negligence.

 

  • Errors in document drafting – Mistakes in drafting legal documents, such as contracts, wills, or real estate deeds, can have significant repercussions.

Who is eligible to make a professional negligence claim?

In order to be eligible to make a professional negligence claim, you must be able to prove the following:

  • The professional owed you a duty of care
  • The duty of care that was owed was breached
  • The breach of duty resulted in a loss, whether that being financial or otherwise
  • The loss caused was reasonably foreseeable

It is crucial to understand that the ability to pursue a claim may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the situation. In England and Wales, the primary time limit for professional negligence claims is set at six years from the date when the negligence occurred or, if later, the date when the claimant first became aware of the negligence.

How long do professional negligence claims against lawyers take?

Pursuing professional negligence claims against lawyers can be time-consuming, often taking up to 12 months before your case initially appears in court. The duration of the entire process depends on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the availability of solicitors, and court scheduling. Defendants may intentionally delay proceedings, especially if the case is filed close to the limitation date.

Choosing the right solicitor

When making a claim against a solicitor for negligence, it is not essential to instruct the most expensive solicitor, however; your typical high street solicitor may not be the best choice either. It is imperative to select a solicitor with the relevant specialisation for your case to ensure that they can provide the best legal advice for a favourable outcome.

You should opt for a solicitor with the experience and expertise required to prove professional negligence in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Furthermore, considering how your solicitor will be perceived by the opposing party is essential.

Moreover, you might want to evaluate your solicitor’s willingness to work on a risk-sharing basis and their experience in dealing with legal funders and insurers. These factors can significantly impact the trajectory and success of your case.

Seeking guidance from an expert professional negligence solicitor as soon as possible can assist in assessing your eligibility to file a professional negligence claim and to ensure that the claim is made within the specified limitation period. It is also important to seek guidance promptly as an expert evidence report may be required, which may take time.

Any solicitor’s practice requires professional indemnity insurance in the event of a claim. Therefore, the insurer is likely to pay for any damages, providing that your claim is successful.

Funding professional negligence cases

Funding a lawyer negligence claim can be a complex process and will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Listed below are some of the options for funding a professional negligence case. 

  • Conditional fee agreements – Conditional fee agreements (CFAs), also known as ‘no win, no fee agreements’, are a type of funding arrangement that allows individuals to pursue a claim without paying legal fees upfront. Under a no win no fee basis, the law firm agrees to take on the case and only charges a fee if the case is successful. If the case is unsuccessful, the client does not have to pay these legal fees.
  • Contingency fee agreement – Some professional negligence lawyers may offer to take on a professional negligence case on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will only charge a fee if they are successful in securing a financial settlement or damages. The fee payable to the solicitor is usually a percentage of the amount recovered, and if the case is unsuccessful, the law firm will not charge a fee.
  • After the event insurance – After the event (ATE) insurance is a type of insurance that can provide cover for legal costs in the event that a case is unsuccessful. This option can be particularly useful in cases where the costs of losing a case could be significant. ATE insurance is often used in conjunction with conditional fee agreements.
  • Third party litigation funding – In some cases, third party litigation funders may be willing to provide funding for a professional negligence case in exchange for a percentage of any financial settlement or damages awarded. This option can be attractive for individual who cannot afford to pay for legal fees themselves but have a strong case.

How can Annecto Legal assist?

Understanding how to prove professional negligence against lawyers can be a complex task, which is why it is vital to have an expert on your side. At Annecto Legal, our team of professional advisors help clients to identify suitable legal representation for their professional negligence cases.

With the right legal team, it is possible to put in place the appropriate litigation funding and insurance to take the case all the way to court, if necessary. Of course, the preference is always to find a suitable settlement in a reasonable timeframe, but the best way to achieve this is to negotiate from a position of strength. Having the best professional negligence solicitors and being fully funded gives you that strength and forces your opponent to the negotiating table.

If you are thinking about bringing a professional negligence claim against a solicitor, contact us today. We can help find you the right representation, as well as managing your financial risks and sourcing funding for your legal fees.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs of legal actions in the UK, we only assist in disputes in which the financial value of the claim is over £250,000, at the absolute minimum. We would like to be able to help on other claims, but we just don’t have access to any products that can assist on smaller matters. 

Get in touch

* Annecto Legal can only assist on case where the loss is in excess of £100,000, with the exception of data breach claims. If you need assistance on a claim worth over £100,000, please get in touch using our form or the details below:

Registered Office

Annecto Legal Ltd, 106 Kennedy Building, Murray Street, Manchester , M4 6HS

Phone

0800 612 6587

Email

info@annectolegal.co.uk

Contact us directly 

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