Solicitor Negligence Claims
What is Solicitor Negligence?
When taking on a solicitor to help you with your case, whatever it may be, you expect a high standard of professional care and service, and you have the legal right to receive it. This is known as the solicitor’s ‘duty of care’ and the same applies to many other professionals.
If it turns out that the solicitor’s ‘duty of care’ is breached and the client has not received the quality of service they expected and are entitled to, then a claim for compensation could be made. This could be for poor/incorrect advice or support you received, which left you to suffer damages or losses as a result; such as money or time.
Solicitor negligence can occur in a number of situations, for example, personal injury or medical negligence cases, where the claimant didn’t receive the correct amount of compensation due to poor research, failure to detect certain information regarding health checks, or administrative errors on the solicitor’s part. Regardless of the situation, you have the right to receive reasonable care and advice from a professional solicitor.
Professional Negligence Claims against Solicitors
Over the last 40 years or so, suing a solicitor has been greatly contested in the Courts of Law, but today it is legally in force that solicitors can be sued if they have behaved negligently and caused you to suffer losses.
Claims against solicitors are usually seen as daunting, but with specialist advice and an experienced, trustworthy lawyer, your case can be assessed and dealt with on the claimant’s behalf. Our advisors at Accident Line Direct are available to give more information on how to sue a solicitor.
There are many things you should consider when making professional negligence claims against solicitors:
- Time limits: A limitation period exists for any type of professional negligence claim, but generally there is a 6-year time limit in which to claim against a solicitor. Depending on your case, however, this could differ; read more detail about it here.
- It is possible to make a claim if the solicitor’s negligence has caused you to incur a loss or if the solicitor has breached their ‘duty of care’ to you when providing the services you requested.
- The amount of compensation you receive could be in the thousands, but it is important to note that it completely depends on your situation, the value of your damage or loss, and the extent of which the solicitor was negligent. Our team can help you determine the amount you could be owed.
Examples of Solicitor Negligence
Some examples of professional negligence cases with solicitors or barristers could be; not defending you adequately in Court, failing to settle a will correctly or just general negligent advice. Below are some past solicitor negligence cases:
1. Ross v Caunters – Negligent Will Drafting
When drafting a will, a solicitor must do it professionally and with care, using their specified skills to do so. In this situation, the solicitor could be negligent if:
- The client received the drafted will without being given any instructions or was given the wrong instructions with regards to the execution requirements, or
- If the solicitor failed to check a will was correctly executed.
Although these are two main examples of negligent will drafting, each case differs and so it would be best to speak to one of our advisors for more information. In the case of Ross (claimant) v Caunters (defendant), the Caunters solicitors firm made the mistake of failing to inform the client that he/she must not sign the will in front of a witness who may have an interest in that will, otherwise this would invalidate it. Failing to provide this advice left the client to carry out this act. In the solicitors negligence case that followed, this resulted in the solicitors firm having to pay out for any damages that the disappointed beneficiary suffered in the Ross v Caunters case.
2. Rondel V Worsley – Poor Legal Representation in Court
The renowned wrestler/car dealer Norbert Rondel set a precedent in 1969, as he attempted to sue his barrister, which was not legal at the time. Rondel was infamously charged with grievous bodily harm after a dance that took place in London. Barrister Michael Worsley took his case on, but Rondel was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in prison; he was charged with cutting off the doorkeeper’s ear.
Once this happened, Rondel claimed that he had not been properly defended by Worsley as, in fact, he had just bitten off a part of the ear. He felt that Worsley did not question the prosecution when they stated that Rondel used a knife to cause the injuries to the doorkeeper.
Because of this, Rondel attempted to sue the barrister for professional negligence, but he was unsuccessful. After this, however, the Court recognised that this lack of proper legal representation should not happen again. The law was later changed in 2002 due to the Rondel v Worsley case and others that followed; making it possible to sue a barrister or solicitor who was negligent.
3. Hall V Simons – Disputing Solicitor ‘Immunity from Suit’
Rondel’s case was later overruled by the Hall v Simons case (2000). The Hall v Simons case consisted of 3 cases (each involving negligent advice from the solicitor), that were appealed all at the same time. This occurred because they all disputed the same point of law; that solicitors had ‘immunity from suit’; meaning that they could not be sued. Once the Hall v Simons case eventually reached the House of Lords, the ‘immunity from suit’ law was revoked, putting the current law of being able to claim against a negligent solicitor in place.
Making Professional Negligence Claims against Solicitors with Accident Line Direct
Professional solicitors negligence could involve a variety of circumstances, and at Accident Line Direct, we are sensitive to the fact that negligence claims against solicitors can seem overwhelming and complicated.
For this reason, we are on hand to help you; whether it’s to give you advice on your case or simply to give more information.
Contact us today for more information on how to sue a solicitor for negligence.
Posted in: Professional Negligence on Monday 19 February 2018
by Grace Hickman