Professional Negligence

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.

Our Professional Negligence Team

Natasha McKeever
I am a Partner and head of the Disputed Wills and Trusts Team. Read More
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