If you feel your solicitor has been negligent, here are some simple tips to bear in mind before deciding to make a claim.
- Have you kept all documents including letters and correspondence which details your instructions and the terms of your retainer with them?
- Have you made a complaint and followed the firm’s complaints procedure? If not, you should do this before issuing a claim. Seeking an early resolution is something which you should do in trying to mitigate your losses and save on any further time and costs being incurred on behalf of both parties.
- Have you obtained evidence of any loss? For example if you are claiming your property has suffered from a devaluation; have you obtained valuation evidence? Keep and collate as much evidence as you can.
- Have you made a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman Service?
- Always keep a record of your attendance with your solicitor. This could be an attendance at the office or on the telephone. These could be crucial pieces of evidence but you must try and make them as accurate as possible.
- If you have not done so already you should request your full file of papers. Your solicitor may not release the file if there is an outstanding invoice which you have not paid.
- Getting involved in a professional negligence claim with your solicitor is likely to be very time consuming and stressful. Be prepared to expect a refusal to accept your claim. Solicitors’ professional indemnity insurers will try and cast doubt on your claim if it is not fully set out.
- If your case involved a Court hearing that went wrong you may want to obtain a transcript of the hearing to see if the Judge made any comments on any professional negligence issue involving your solicitor.
- You must try and act quickly to ensure you are within time to make a claim. You do not want to be in a position whereby your case has become time-barred. In such cases your solicitor may have a complete defence to a claim.
- Seek advice from a specialist firm such as Stephensons Solicitors LLP who have a specialist team who deal with professional negligence cases against solicitors.
By Liam Waine, partner and head of the Professional Negligence team
Stephensons has a range of fixed fee services to assist in your case and can also offer no win, now fee arrangements in appropriate cases. For further details contact us by calling 0175 321 6399.