Whilst a significant part of a solicitor’s job is to sue on behalf of their clients, it does not make them immune from being sued themselves in a professional capacity. A solicitor is able to be sued for negligence just like anyone else in the legal profession, and professional negligence cases can be fairly common.
Professional negligence can be described as the failure of a professional to perform their responsibilities to the standard that is required of them or by breaching their duty of care towards their client. Examples of professional negligence can include provision of poor advice, a breach of confidentiality, providing a poor service, or failure to identify serious issues.
You could be eligible to bring a claim for professional negligence against a previous solicitor that claimed to have expertise in a particular field if you can prove that the solicitor failed to meet the expected standards and you have suffered loss or legal costs as a result. It is important for a professional negligence case to be successful, that the causal link between the negligence and the loss or damage can be proven. If you have been left thinking ‘can I sue my solicitor for negligence?’, the following article may assist.
Professional negligence claims against solicitors
Your previous solicitor owes you a duty of care to act with reasonable competence, and if they have held themselves out to have specialist experience or knowledge, then they will owe a higher duty of care, reflecting that specialist experience or knowledge. Falling below these standards and thereby causing you damage, loss, or any lost opportunities may well mean that there is a professional negligence claim to be made against the solicitor or law firm.
Legal professionals are obliged to have professional indemnity insurance in place, so if things go wrong as a result of their negligence, then any financial losses can be expected to be recovered at least to the level of the insurance. While getting things right the first time is better for those involved, mandatory insurance is an important safety net for those who use the legal profession, especially so if being advised on large transactions or substantial litigation.
Whether it be in relation to a conveyance, personal injury claim, litigation, tax advice, a will or any other legal service, if mistakes were made, then the potential liability of the legal professionals involved should be examined. Of course, just because things have not gone the way you had hoped does not necessarily mean there has been negligence.
Examples of solicitor’s negligence
There are many mistakes or incidents that can be made by solicitors, which could potentially amount to professional negligence. These include the following:
- Provision of inaccurate or incorrect legal advice
- Missing a limitation date
- Instruction of inappropriate experts in a case
- Missing important deadlines, such as Court deadlines
- Under-settling a claim
- Failing to conduct proper investigations leading to unfair settlements, for example, in a divorce case
- Acting against a client’s instructions
- Failing to properly advise on funding options
- Incorrectly drafting a legal document
Time limits for making a claim against a solicitor
As with all professional negligence claims, the limitation period for making a professional negligence claim against a solicitor is six years from when the negligence took place, although there may be some exceptions to this rule.
We would suggest that if you are looking to sue a solicitor, you should initiate your claim as soon as possible after the negligence took place. This is because any required details will be fresh in your mind at this point, and you will be more likely to have all of the required documents at hand. Get in touch with one of our specialist professional negligence solicitors today for professional legal advice on making a claim.
How can South Bank Legal assist?
If you are wondering ‘can I sue my solicitor for negligence?’ and are looking to do so, or you would like to make a complaint through the legal ombudsman, then you would benefit from speaking to a dispute resolution solicitor. Please feel free to contact our professional negligence team today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0203 1266 584 for a confidential discussion.
South Bank Legal are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We are registered in England and Wales with a registered office in London.
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