Many individuals and businesses receive advice from trusted advisers. With luck, the relationship with the adviser will last for many years. From time to time, however, professional advisers give poor advice or carry out substandard work. When that happens, we can help to put matters right.
Claims may have to be brought against a range of professionals, for example: lawyers, accountants, auditors, surveyors, valuers, architects, engineers, financial advisers and tax advisers.
Our specialist solicitors have acted successfully against numerous professionals in different disciplines for individual and business clients, with claims ranging in size from £10,000 to over £1 million.
In reality, these claims are generally dealt with by the adviser's insurers, rather than by the adviser personally. The insurers will normally take a sensible approach when presented with a well-argued, clear case.
Professional negligence claims must begin by following the pre-action protocols which have been laid down, and we guide clients through that process. To follow those protocols, it is necessary to give the professional a detailed statement of the claim and why it is being made, and then give him or her an opportunity to consider the position and to respond.
If the claim is not resolved at that stage, we pursue court litigation. We also look at ways to find the best outcome for our clients and have considerable success in discussions and negotiations, joint settlement meetings and mediation. In some cases, arbitration may be appropriate.
Sometimes, the parties to the dispute regard confidentiality as an important factor. In those cases, alternative dispute resolution such as mediation can be preferable to an open court trial in the few cases in which no earlier resolution can be achieved.
In tandem with court action, we will advise regarding making a formal complaint to the professional's governing body. Complaints can result in compensation awards, disciplinary action by the governing body and other outcomes, which some clients find of value and which many professionals would prefer to avoid.
Professional negligence claims can be expensive. We give full advice in relation to the various funding options. We frequently pursue cases under no win no fee agreements, discounted rates and legal expenses insurance.