Professional Negligence

When hiring a professional, you expect the best. We’re here to help when things go wrong

When you engage a professional, you expect a professional service. So naturally it’s disappointing when professionals fail to supply services with the level of skill and care that is expected, and a paying client is owed.

Even with the best intentions, professionals can make mistakes that may have far-reaching consequences for you or your business. We have a long track record of successfully obtaining compensation from professionals through the courts, negotiating with and litigating against insurers’ solicitors.

We’ll identify the approach that is most likely to achieve the results you want, at a proportionate cost. And if there’s a less formal or costly approach to resolving a dispute, we’ll always let you know – be it mediation, negotiation, or arbitration.

Industries of expertise include: Solicitors; Barristers; Accountants; Insurance Brokers; Independent Financial Advisors; Architects; and Surveyors/Valuers.

As solicitors, we know how important it is for us to give comprehensive and reliable legal advice and assistance. However, we also know there are times when solicitors can fail to perform to the standards required of them, which can negatively impact you. If you’re let down by your solicitor, you may be able to bring a professional negligence claim against them.

This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against solicitors

Do I have a claim against my solicitor?

As solicitors ourselves we understand what is expected of us when giving legal advice and assistance. On occasions, people and businesses may be let down by their solicitors and, as a result, may be able to bring a claim against them for professional negligence. Our depth of expertise in a wide range of legal specialisms gives us an advantage when bringing negligence claims against other solicitors.

The areas of law that we most commonly take instructions on for negligence claims against solicitors are as follows:-

  • Buying, selling and remortgaging of residential and commercial property;
  • Buying and selling of businesses;
  • Drafting of wills and the administration of estates;
  • Not explaining the extra risks involved in buying leasehold property;
  • Lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement;
  • Commercial leases and lease renewal;
  • Declarations of trust; and
  • Missed limitation date(s)

What is my claim worth?

If your solicitor has been negligent, we will be able to discuss with you what your likely loss has been.

We can help you recover financial compensation (damages) that will put you in the position you would have been in if your solicitor had not been negligent. Often the financial compensation will be substantial. Your losses would normally be covered by your solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your solicitor, the first step is to write to the solicitor, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. Claims in negligence against solicitor can be complex and we may need to get a professional expert opinion of your solicitor’s failings in order to set out your claim. The solicitor will either accept your claim or send a ‘letter of response’, indicating whether he intends to defend the claim and on what basis. We find that most claims settle before a claim is issued at Court and most cases do not reach Court. If a negotiated resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to resolving professional negligence claims and we regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their solicitor’s actions. You may not even fully know at this stage the full consequences of their actions but we would be happy to discuss your case in more detail with you.

If you have engaged a barrister who has provided negligent advice, drafted documents in a way that doesn’t meet the profession’s standard, or provided negligent advocacy at court, you might be able to make a claim against them.

If your barrister is negligent in advising on the legal position of your case and they either overstate or understate the true merits or value of the case, it may be possible to pursue them for what are called ‘wasted’ legal costs (the expense of pursuing a claim with no merits) or for loss of chance (a claim with good merits that was not pursued following negligent advice).

This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against barristers

Do I have a claim against my barrister?

There are a number of ways that a barrister can be professionally negligent, including providing negligent advice, drafting documents in a way that doesn’t meet the profession’s standard, or providing negligent advocacy at court.

If your barrister is negligent in advising on the legal position of your case and they either overstate or understate the true merits or value of the case, it may be possible to pursue them for what are called ‘wasted’ legal costs  (the expense of pursuing a claim with no merits) or for loss of chance ( a claim with good merits that was not pursued following negligent advice).

In a case where the barrister has been instructed through solicitors, it is important to establish whether the negligence was due to the barrister or the solicitor. It is not always easy to distinguish who is at fault. In some circumstances, it may be that it is necessary to pursue a claim against both the instructing solicitors and the barristers.

What is my claim worth?

If your barrister has been negligent, we will be able to provide guidance of what your likely loss has been.  We can help you recover financial compensation (damages) that will put you in the position you would have been in if your barrister had not been negligent and these can be substantial. Your losses would normally be paid for by your barrister’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

How long will it take?

If we think that you have a claim against your barrister, we will write to the barrister, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. This letter is called a pre-action letter and this is the first step in the litigation process. We will also inform your barrister that a copy of our letter should be passed to their insurer.

The barrister will either accept your claim or set out in writing whether they intend to defend the claim and on what basis. A lot of claims are generally settled before a claim is issued at court and most cases do not reach a final trial. If a resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you. Time frames for bringing a claim through to trial will vary but if liability (fault) is contested throughout it could take more than a year.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to resolving professional negligence claims and we regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their barrister’s actions. You may not even fully know at this stage the full consequences of their actions but we would be happy to discuss your case in more detail with you.

Insurance brokers are expected to adhere to standards expected of their profession. If you have a personal or business insurance policy that didn’t pay out when you needed it to and you think that your insurance broker is at fault, we can help.

This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against insurance brokers

Do I have a claim against my insurance broker?

In order to succeed in a claim, you would need to prove that your broker owed you a ‘duty of care’. The duty will usually arise because of a contract between you and your broker but it can also arise in circumstances where there is no contract in place. The insurance broker will breach his duty to you if they don’t exercise reasonable care when supplying their service. If the breach caused you to suffer loss, you may be able to recover the loss.

Our lawyers have experience in acting for claimants in claims against insurance brokers. Examples of insurance broker negligence can include situations where:

  • Your broker did not act quickly enough in brokering your policy;
  • Your broker did not adequately advise you of the qualification conditions for the insurance policy;
  • Your broker did not adequately advise you of what actions would invalidate your policy and what conditions you had to adhere to so that the policy would not be breached;
  • Your broker failed to complete the forms correctly;
  • Your broker did not carry out an adequate assessment of your business or property to be insured, so that all key facts were not disclosed to your insurer;
  • Your broker failed to disclose something on the insurance form that you made him or her aware of

Once the policy is in place, your broker should also review your needs and demands when the policy is renewed and the same level of care should be exercised each time the policy is renewed.

What is my claim worth?

If your insurance broker has acted negligently and caused you to suffer a loss, we can help you recover financial compensation to try to put you in the position you would have been in if your broker had not been negligent. We can tell you what your claim is likely to be worth. Your losses would normally be covered by your broker’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your insurance broker, we will write to them, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. The letter is called a ‘pre-action letter’ and is the first step in the litigation process. The broker will either accept your claim or send a ‘letter of response’, indicating whether they intend to defend the claim and on what basis. Often settlement is reached before a claim is issued at Court. If a resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to professional negligence. We regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their professional advisers. You may not even fully know at this stage whether your broker has been negligent and we can help you determine this, discuss what options are available for you and what steps you should take next.

When you need help managing your finances, an accountant might be the first person you turn to. Unfortunately, although they owe you a duty of care, they may fall short of your expectations. If this sounds familiar, you might need legal advice.

This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against accountants

Do I have a claim against my accountant?

Whether or not you have entered into a written contract with an accountant, it is likely that they will owe you a ‘duty of care’. The accountant’s duty means that they must perform their services using reasonable care and skill.

If you believe you have received inadequate advice or service in relation to any of the services listed above, or any other service provided to you or your business by your accountant, we would like to hear from you to discuss the circumstances of your case and how we can help.

What is my claim worth?

If your accountant has been negligent, we will be able to provide guidance as to what your likely loss has been. We can help you recover financial compensation (damages) that will put you in the position you would have been in if your accountant had not been negligent. Often the financial compensation will be substantial. Your losses would normally be paid for by your accountant’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your accountant, we will write to them, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. This letter is called a pre-action letter and this is the first step in the litigation process. The accountant will either accept your claim or set out in writing whether they intend to defend the claim and on what basis. Often settlement is reached before a claim is issued at Court. If a resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to resolving professional negligence claims and we regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their accountant’s actions. You may not even fully know at this stage the full consequences of your accountant’s actions but we would be happy to discuss your case in more detail with you.

Trust is an important part of working with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). When you hire one to invest your money, you expect them to uphold their professional duties and standards. However, if the value of your investment has fallen significantly and you were not prepared, or if you have suffered a financial loss that you think should not have happened, we can help determine if your IFA has been negligent.

We understand the financial devastation that can be caused by receiving negligent financial advice, and we can offer ‘no-win no-fee’ options for suitable cases. This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against IFAs

Do I have a claim against my IFA?

If you have engaged an IFA, it is likely that they will have owed you a ‘duty of care’. There does not need to be a written contract in place for the ‘duty of care’ to arise. The IFA’s ‘duty of care’ means that they must perform their responsibilities using reasonable skill and care. Your IFA must also act with independence, meaning that they cannot recommend one product and ignore other products that are available. If the IFA’s actions fell below the standard of a competent member of his profession or if they were not independent, they may have been negligent.

We can help you assess whether your IFA failed in his duty to you, typical examples of IFA negligence may include situations where:

  • Your IFA did not carry out an adequate ‘fact finding’ exercise to assess your attitude to risk;
  • You were exposed to a high risk or highly speculative investment that was totally inappropriate for you;
  • You were advised on an investment strategy but the risks were not explained to you;
  • You were sold investment products that your IFA should have known you didn’t need – such as transferring your pension resulting in unnecessary fees;
  • Your IFA failed to act independently;
  • Your IFA did not act in your best interests;
  • You were given inadequate investment advice or your investment was not properly monitored;
  • You were not told about the tax consequences of your scheme when you should have been

What is my claim worth?

If your IFA has been negligent, we will discuss with you what your likely loss has been. We can help you recover financial compensation (damages) that will put you in the position you would have been in if your IFA had not been negligent. Often the financial compensation will be substantial. Your losses would normally be paid for by your IFA’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your IFA, we will write to them, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. The letter is called a ‘pre-action letter’ and is the first step in the litigation process. The IFA will either accept your claim or send a ‘letter of response’, indicating whether they intend to defend the claim and on what basis. Often settlement is reached before a claim is issued at Court and most cases do not reach Court. If a resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to financial services disputes. We regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their IFA’s actions. You may not even fully appreciate at this stage whether your investment was inappropriate or possibly illegal and we can help you determine this and discuss what options are available for you. We would be happy to discuss your case in more detail with you.

If the architect you have engaged to build or renovate your home or office has fallen below the standard required by their profession, it can have disastrous long-term consequences for the project. Ranging from delays and disruptions to financial loss, it’s important to know where you stand legally are now that the worst has happened.

This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against architects

Do I have a claim against my architect?

If you have engaged an architect, it is likely that he will owe you a ‘duty of care’. The duty can arise because of the contract you have with your architect but it can also arise even if you do not have a written contract.

The contract with your architect will set out what your architect’s responsibilities are,  often the contract will include the Royal Institute of British Architects Conditions of Engagement.  We can advise you on what actions your architect should have taken under the terms of your contract.

We can also advise you on whether your architect breached its duty. Common examples of architect’s negligence can include situations where an architect:

  • Made errors in drawings;
  • Failed to get the appropriate planning permissions or failed to comply with planning regulations;
  • Failed to adhere to a safe specification and used sub-standard building materials;
  • Mismanaged the project costs and contractors;
  • Carried out the project with insufficient supervision;
  • Failed to advise appropriately in relation to drawings and plans;
  • Committed health and safety breaches

In addition, if your architect sub-contracted work to a third party, such as a builder, but didn’t monitor this work properly, the architect could still be liable to you for that third party’s actions. In some instances it may be better to pursue the architect as they will have professional indemnity insurance.

We can look at the instructions or brief given by you to your architect together with the budget and timetable to assess whether your architect has breached the duty of care owed to you.

What is my claim worth?

If your architect’s negligent actions have caused you a loss, we can help you recover financial compensation that will put you in the position you would have been in if your architect had not been negligent. The loss to you may range from extra payments to contractors because of delay, putting errors right or additional rental payments you have had to make due to the delay whist living in a separate property. We can tell you what your claim is likely to be worth. Your losses would normally be covered by your architect’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your architect, the first step is to write, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. Claims in negligence against architects can be complex and we may need to get a professional expert opinion of your architect’s failings in order to set out your claim. The architect will either accept your claim or send a ‘letter of response’, indicating whether they intend to defend the claim and on what basis. We find that most claims settle before a claim is issued at Court and most cases do not reach Court. If a resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to professional negligence. We regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their professional advisers. You may not even fully know at this stage whether your architect has been negligent and we can help you determine this, discuss what options are available for you and what steps you should take next.

Buying a home or a commercial property is one of the biggest investments you can make. If you subsequently realise that your surveyor has made an error, it can lead to financial consequences for you or your business.

This guide gives you a brief overview of the claims process and the options available, along with information about our approach and costs, and what the next steps are.

Guide: Claims against surveyors and valuers

Do I have a claim against my surveyor?

Whether or not your surveyor’s error was ‘negligent’ and you have the right to make a claim will depend on what you have asked the surveyor to do. Surveyors can be instructed to produce a wide range of reports and valuations from mortgage valuations, home buyers reports to full structural surveys. Each of these reports will have different levels of responsibility, with the full structural survey requiring the highest standard.

Your contract with your surveyor will set out the surveyor’s responsibilities. Even if you don’t have a written contract, perhaps because you had a verbal agreement or because your mortgage lender instructed the surveyor directly, the surveyor may still owe you a duty of care. We can help you by explaining what your surveyor’s responsibilities were or still are.

As a minimum your surveyor must perform services with reasonable care and skill. The standard that is required is that of an ordinary skilled person of the same profession. If your surveyor fell below this standard and in doing so caused you to suffer loss, we can discuss with you whether you might have a claim in negligence.

Common examples of surveyor’s negligence can include situations where a surveyor:

  • Recommended an unsuitable type of survey for your needs;
  • Missed defects in a property or failed to report on structural defects;
  • Failed to adequately inspect the property;
  • Failed to report on issues such as subsidence, dry rot, woodworm or damp;
  • Produced a valuation that is much too low or too high, whether it was for a purchase, lease extension or rent review;
  • Failed to take certain factors into consideration when producing a valuation report;
  • Failed to conduct an adequately thorough investigation; or
  • Prepared an inaccurate report

What is my claim worth?

Your surveyor’s negligent actions may have caused you a loss. For example, your surveyor may have reported that your flat was made out of a certain material when it was not, meaning that you may not be able to get a mortgage. We can help you recover financial compensation (damages) that will put you in the position you would have been in if your surveyor had not been negligent. Often the financial compensation can be substantial. We will discuss with you what your claim is likely to be worth. Your losses would normally be covered by your surveyor’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your surveyor, the first step is to write to the surveyor, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. Claims in negligence against surveyors can be complex and we may need to get a professional expert opinion of your surveyor’s failings in order to set out your claim. The surveyor will either accept your claim or send a ‘letter of response’, indicating whether he intends to defend the claim and on what basis. We find that most claims settle before a claim is issued at Court and most cases do not reach Court. If a negotiated resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to professional negligence. We regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their professional advisers. You may not even fully know at this stage whether your surveyor has been negligent and we can help you determine this, discuss what options are available for you and what steps you should take next.

What Our Clients Say

“a considerable support over several years”

“Alex has been a considerable support over several years in relation to the contentious aspects of my matter.”

BB Client

“incredibly helpful, available and friendly”

“Michelle has been incredibly helpful, available and friendly at all times.”

BB Client

Our Professional Negligence Team

Alexander Clarke

Associate

Michelle Footer

Senior Associate

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.