Professional Negligence: Who are you in dispute with?
Sometimes, a potential client will contact us with a professional negligence complaint about their solicitor, accountant or similar. They will be feeling aggrieved and placing the blame for something that has gone wrong squarely at their feet.
Sometimes a professional will even realise that they made a mistake and tell their client to speak to a solicitor to take advice.
Whilst we do receive these types of enquiries, the truth is that many of the professional negligence claims we see at GA Solicitors are identified only after the client has come to see us about some other problem.
Professional negligence seems to be flagged up in this manner, most frequently, in two particular areas.
The first is property disputes. There could be a client who has bought a property with their life partner or their business partner. When the co-owners separate, they find that they cannot now agree on what they had previously about their shares in the property. Another example is that the client may have a dispute over something that was said, or not said, by the previous owner when they bought their property. It could relate to the boundaries, if Japanese knotweed has been found, or the state of the drains, for example.
The second area where we see issues come up which later lead to professional negligence claims, is litigation (also known as dispute resolution). An example of this is where everyone has thought that the case had come to an end through a settlement, but it still rumbles on because there’s an argument about what was actually agreed.
In each of these cases, the client is aggrieved with the other party i.e. the seller of the property, and they may not have even considered that their solicitor had not advised them properly or undertaken sufficient due diligence.
Generally, in these circumstances, the client will have to sort out the dispute itself before being able to consider a professional negligence claim against the solicitor. This is known as mitigation of loss.
However, we would still usually ask at the outset to see a copy of the advice that you received, if you still have it, or obtain the former solicitor’s file. If there is a clear case that the solicitor was negligent, we can ask them to pay your costs of sorting out the dispute as this might save them, and their insurers, money in the long run. It can be of benefit to both parties.
At GA Solicitors, we have a specialist professional negligence team to deal with your professional negligence claim. We also have a number of specialist other departments including property litigation, business disputes, dispute resolution, family law and commercial property, meaning we can deal with all aspects of your legal issue.
If you would like to discuss how GA Solicitors can help further, then please contact me directly by emailing matthew.ellis@GAsolicitors.com or call 01752 203500.
You can read more about GA Solicitors’ professional negligence advice here.