How do I know my solicitor has been negligent?

We understand the impact that a negligent solicitor can have on an individual or business, particularly as you rely upon solicitors during key events in your life,  such as buying or selling a property or business, drafting a will or inheritance tax planning; as well as when embarking on litigation. However, solicitors can fall below the standard expected of them in which case they may have been negligent. If you feel that your solicitor has failed to act as instructed or in your best interests and that you have suffered a loss as a consequence, you may have grounds to bring a claim.

 Situations where solicitors have been negligent include:

  • failing to act in accordance with client instructions;
  • failing to advise a client as to their exposure to legal costs;
  • providing negligent advice on property and business transactions;
  • failing to issue a claim before the expiry of a relevant limitation period;
  • providing negligent advice about whether it is prudent to settle a claim;
  • missing court deadlines; or
  • mishandling litigation or employment tribunal claims.

If you have suffered a loss because of your negligent solicitor then we can advise you whether you have a claim and we will help you to recover any losses you may have incurred.

Key contact

Richard Locke is a Partner and Head of the Corporate and Banking division. He is also Group Head of the ever expanding dispute resolution team at Hugh James. He conducts major commercial disputes frequently with an international flavour including commercial claims, mining disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, professional negligence claims, contentious IT disputes, injunctive relief and insolvency.

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Our experience

Recent and ongoing cases where we have successfully acted against solicitors include:

  • acting for a well-known sporting organisation in a multi-million pound claim against its former solicitors. The claim against the negligent solicitors settled favourably before trial;
  • successfully compromising a claim against a negligent solicitor on behalf of a client who suffered a catastrophic injury. Our client had negligently been advised to reject an initial settlement offer following their injuries. The claim was settled and we recovered damages exceeding £160,000 for our client;
  • bringing a claim on behalf of a vulnerable adult who was negligently advised as a minor following a personal injury claim. The initial claim was grossly under-settled as a result of the solicitor's negligent handling of the claim;
  • acting for numerous clients where deadlines for care-home fees have been missed;
  • advising a company on the legal and financial implications of severing the final salary link in fetter of the scheme rules and deeds undertaken by the trustees of the company’s pension scheme. We are also assessing a potential negligence claim against the former legal advisers and actuaries;
  • settling a high value claim against a negligent conveyancing solicitor who failed to carry out the necessary pre-purchase searches which resulted in the later discovery of a footpath running through the land;
  • acting for a seller of land whose solicitor negligently failed to include proper provisions to retain rights of grazing over common land at the time of sale;
  • representing a client whose solicitors negligently failed to secure a charge over the defendant’s property at the conclusion of a trial which resulted in the defendant selling the property and removing his assets from the jurisdiction;
  • acting on behalf of a client in a high value claim against a firm of solicitors who negligently settled our client's claim at an undervalue;
  • recovering costs awarded against a client where the solicitor had negligently failed to follow the relevant pre-action procedure;
  • acting on behalf of a client whose solicitor failed to provide advice about relevant funding options for litigation and failed to advise on the costs’ implications of not accepting an offer to settle. The amount awarded at trial did not exceed the settlement offer and our client was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs;
  • acting in conjunction with our nationally renowned Nursing Care Department, we regularly advise clients in respect of claims against negligent solicitors who handled applications for the reimbursement of continuing healthcare costs. Often these claims arise from the solicitor having failed to take action within the relevant limitation period which prevented our client from recovering their money from the relevant health board.

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