Professional negligence claims arise where the services provided by a professional fall below the standard that one would reasonably expect and the client suffers loss as a result.
In most cases it is the professional’s client who will be able to claim for the loss they have suffered, but it is sometimes possible to establish a claim as a third party: for example if you have relied on a valuation in a conveyancing matter that was prepared for your mortgage company. We are professional negligence solicitors with a wealth of experience of this type of case. We can handle claims against all types of professionals working in property-related fields such as solicitors, surveyors, architects, planning consultants, mechanical and electrical engineers or financial advisors. We are also happy to represent professionals where a claim is being brought against them.
There is a pre-action protocol for professional negligence claims which provides an opportunity to negotiate before proceedings are started. Many cases can in fact be resolved at this stage, and more are settled through the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. Our role during these early stages is to help you to understand the strength of your own position, to present your case to your opponent, to advise on negotiation strategies such as the use of costs-protection offers and to represent you in any settlement discussions or without-prejudice meetings. We have established connections with barristers and expert-witnesses who specialise in this type of claim and their assistance can be very valuable in the early stages of building your case, as well as in preparing for and acting at trial if necessary.
If a satisfactory settlement cannot be achieved then we will ensure that you are placed in the best possible position as the matter proceeds to trial. Court proceedings can be stressful, but we find that much of the strain can be alleviated where the client is well-prepared and well-informed. Where necessary we are happy to help with enforcing a judgment in your favour and recovering any costs awarded to you by the court.
In many cases where there is a claim against a professional you may find yourself involved in a related dispute with a third party as a result of the professional’s fault: perhaps because their poor advice, or drafting, lead you to sign an unsatisfactory contract, or one you are unable to perform; or because a building project is delayed due to inaccurate plans or third party rights that your solicitor failed to warn you about. In these situations we can usually assist with the main dispute as well as the professional negligence claim and can also advise you on how to co-ordinate the two disputes to ensure that your position is protected.
We are a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association.