Generally a solicitor, like other professionals, must possess reasonable skill in the law and exercise that skill. Put another way, a solicitor must exercise the skill and care that could be expected of a reasonably competent solicitor having regard to the standards normally adopted in their profession. This test, of course, gives considerable scope for argument.
Any breach of the duty described above must have been in respect of work that the solicitor assumed responsibility – and that is usually determined by the details of the contract (or retainer as it is called) between the solicitor and his or her client.
Making a professional negligence claim
Assuming that there has been a breach for work that the solicitor assumed responsibility for it must then be proved that that breach directly caused financial loss (and that the loss is recognised in the law as being recoverable as damages).
Solicitors, and most professionals, are required to be insured against claims for losses arising from their negligence. The involvement of insurers, and their lawyers, often adds a level of complexity to negligence claims as well.
There is plenty of scope for argument in all of these matters.
Litigation is expensive – professional negligence litigation is often, particularly so. To bring a professional negligence claim, you will need to find solicitors who are experienced in this complex area of the law and who are also willing and able to share the risk of a claim by way, for example, of conditional fee or damages based funding. You may also want the reassurance of insurance cover, which will pay the legal costs of the solicitor you sue should your claim fail.
Professional Negligence Solicitors
At Bridge McFarland LLP, our specialist litigation team are members of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and are experienced in professional negligence litigation. We will fund claims on a conditional fee or damages based basis where appropriate. We have links with leading insurers who will cover the risk of having to pay your opponent’s legal costs if your claim fails.