How long do I have to make a professional negligence claim against a solicitor?
You need to issue a professional negligence claim against a solicitor within six years of the incident, unless you can prove that negligence was only discovered at a later date, in which case an extension might be sought, up to three years from the date of discovery.
Claims against solicitor
Common instances of solicitor negligence include:
- Negligently drafted wills
- Wrong advice in relation to the purchase of a property
- Missing limitation dates
Unfortunately, you could receive negligent or incorrect advice from your solicitor or legal adviser, or they can act in a way that means your case does not go according to plan. If you suffer financial loss as a result, you may have a professional negligence claim against your solicitor.
Common examples of how a solicitor may have acted in a negligent way:
- In the legal process of purchasing a house or piece of land, a solicitor may not have investigated your case sufficiently, if another party have made themselves known with a right of way over your new property or piece of land. Alternatively, they may have overlooked or missed that you will not have the right to drive to your house or garage, or that you don’t have a right to use the drains. If any of these circumstances lead to a drop in the value of the new property, you may have a claim.
- If your solicitor has not warned you about the threat or presence of Japanese knotweed when making a property purchase, you may have been misled and could be eligible to make a claim against your solicitor.
- Where a solicitor has made an error in drafting a Will, meaning that expected inheritances are lost, you may be able to make a claim. You may also be able to challenge the Will.
- A solicitor may fail to start your case in court by the deadline. This is referred to as the limitation date. This period varies depending on the kind of case, but in some cases is very short, such as with claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, where the limitation period is just six months from the date of the grant of probate. Employment cases generally need to be started within three months. In personal injury cases, the limitation is three years and in contract cases, the limitation is six years. If the date is missed, you can no longer take your case to court and therefore may lose out on recovering any damages.
- Solicitors make mistakes during court cases. This may be failing to meet a deadline set by the court, failure to advise you on cost risks or to get the right insurance product for you. There are instances where solicitors do not advise properly on what you should settle your case for.
In these situations, there may be a professional negligence claim worth investigating.
If you have a grievance against your solicitor, but have not suffered any financial loss as a result of their actions, then you should make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman Service. - Legal Ombudsman.
To speak to our legal team regarding solicitor negligence or suing a lawyer for professional negligence feel free to call 0203 816 9314. A number of funding options are available to pursue a claim including 'no win no fee'.