The very thought of suing a legal professional can be a daunting prospect to say the least. But mistakes do happen and occasionally for whatever reason, people do not receive the quality of legal service they deserve.
All legal professionals have a moral and legal ‘Duty of Care.’ This is a professional duty imposed by the Solicitors/Barristers code of conduct. This means that they must provide a level of service to their clients commensurate to that which would reasonably be expected by a professionally prudent person:
Negligence: Conduct that falls below the standards of behaviour established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.
So, that’s the legalese. But in slightly plainer English this means that if you feel your legal representative has not acted in accordance with the standards of other professionals in the same field — and/or if you feel that as a direct result of this you have suffered harm or financial loss, then you may potentially have a claim for negligence.
You also may if you choose to do so submit a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, who regulate Solicitors in England and Wales or the Bar Standards Council, who regulate Barristers in England and Wales.
Another common grounds for negligence cases are situations in which the client has suffered a ‘Loss of Chance.’ Loss of chance occurs when a client may not have suffered loss directly but may have missed out on a chance to receive beneficial outcomes or to avoid a loss.
Loss of Chance: Where the defendant’s breach of contract, or of the duty of care for the purposes of negligence, deprived the claimant of the opportunity to obtain a benefit and/or avoid a loss.
Examples of this may be for instance when a legal professional has failed to fully inform a client on measures they could’ve taken to avoid financial liability in the event of not winning a claim. ATE, or After The Event insurance covers the cost of the defendant’s legal fees if the claim is unsuccessful. Failure to inform a client adequately about measures such as this, or advising a client that a case should not be pursued when there is actually a good chance of success — may be deemed a beach of the Solicitor’s Code of Professional Conduct – and may therefore be good grounds for a claim. On considering the above if you think you may have a case then it’s time to make contact and get represented.
Instances which may provide grounds for professional legal negligence include:
- Missing Limitation Dates — The period of time after the negligence has occurred in which a claim must be commenced. Usually within 6 years in a case of legal negligence;
- Providing incorrect legal advice;
- Failing to comply with a court order or deadline;
- Failure to investigate fundamental evidence;
The above are just examples, we can advise on all the above and more.
But surely Lawyers don’t want to sue other Lawyers, right?
Well of course, it’s not a question of wanting to. All law firms and sole practicing Lawyers and Solicitors are governed by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA). As such they are obliged to obtain Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). In fact membership of the SRA is not permitted without PII. PII is a safety net both for yourself (the client) and for the legal professional.
As we mentioned earlier in any profession mistakes will happen, and service, for sometimes unavoidable reasons will occasionally not be up to par. In these circumstances the fact that any liability will be borne by PII ensures that the client will not be pursuing a worthless case. Ie; the fact that the Lawyer they are pursuing has insurance means that the necessary funds to meet any compensation or damages will be covered, and in the event of a successful claim the client will get what they rightly deserve.
Legal professionals as a whole are aware that this system helps to ensure the integrity, security and ”˜good name’ of the profession – and that this in turn provides security and confidence for the client, and promotes the good reputation of the profession among the general public.
It’s clear to see then that the legal profession benefits from this generally, and therefore litigation against Lawyers is by no means a rare thing. So whatever you do …Do not be put off by fears that you don’t have a valid claim or that a Solicitor will not want to pursue it.
So now you know you want to make your claim. What next?
First find yourself a reputable, experienced and knowledgeable Solicitor. Here at Been Let Down you will speak to an experienced Solicitor from day one. We are specialist Professional Negligence Solicitors, and are accredited with both the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.
Any initial consultation is free. Just submit an initial claim form through our website and one of our Solicitors will call you back. Alternatively just phone on and we can start to look at your case straight away. We realise that each case is different and that clients will often be nervous or experiencing a stressful situation when they contact us. We will therefore listen, advise and most importantly of all be sensitive to your circumstances. We are even prepared to make home visits if the situation deems this necessary and the client is more comfortable that way.
We operate on a CFA, or Conditional Fee Agreement basis (more commonly known as No Win, No Fee). We can also offer the best ATE insurance arrangements, and we are able to beat other Solicitors rates in terms of the Success Fee (a success fee is an agreed percentage of damages awarded in the event of a successful claim, which forms the basis of the CFA).
All of this insures that at beenletdown you will receive only the highest levels of professional conduct, service and care. So why not contact us today on a no obligation basis, and we will carefully consider your case and ensure you get the very best advice available.