It is being reported that there is an increase of high-value speculative claims being made against solicitors by their former clients. This could be the effect of the post-recession economy taking hold with many businesses trying to maximise their efforts for recovery.
In the recent case of Wellesley Partners LLP v Withers LLP  EWHC 556 (Ch) the High Court ruled that Withers LLP had to pay the claimants, Wellesley Partners LLP £1.6m in damages as a result of their professional negligence.
The Court heard that the defendant, Withers LLP, had either misunderstood or not taken down proper instructions on a particular clause in an LLP member’s agreement. The effect of the clause meant that a new member of the LLP was able to withdraw 50% of its capital contribution before the intended date. The claimants argued that this lost them the opportunity of expanding its business in the way they would have done had the new member not withdrawn its money. Lost profits were therefore claimed.
It was also noted that the main issue surrounding the drafting of the clause was not carefully noted in the defendant solicitors file. Although the Judge commented that this was not in itself indicative of negligence, he did say that the making of detailed attendance notes is good practice.
If you have any suspicion that your solicitor may have taken down the wrong information from you or misunderstood your instructions, it may be that you also have a potential claim if you can establish loss.
By Liam Waine, Partner and head of the professional negligence team