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Legal claims against solicitors and barristers

In cases where you have received a poor service and bad advice from your solicitor or barrister, you may be able to bring a claim for professional negligence. As with any professional, your solicitor or barrister owes you a duty of care to be reasonably competent. He or she must exercise the skill and care that is expected of a reasonably competent professional in his field in providing a service to you.

When could I have a claim that my solicitor or barrister was negligent?

In order for your claim to succeed there must be evidence that your solicitor or barrister has breached his duty of care to you and that you have suffered loss as a result of this.  The loss could be financial or otherwise in a court action or in legal advice that you have received. 

If you have suffered significant financial loss because of the negligence of your solicitor or barrister, then you may potentially have a claim for compensation.

It is not sufficient for you to state that you are no longer happy with your service because you simply do not agree with the advice that has been provided to you or you did not agree with how your court proceedings were conducted.

Examples of cases which could result in a claim against your solicitor or barrister

  • A solicitor failed to advise you on the consequences and financial remedies of your claim
  • Your case has been struck out because your solicitor has failed on a technicality which your solicitor has failed to address such as he has failed to comply with court directions or has otherwise failed to meet a deadline
  • The amount of compensation you received was inadequate because of negligent advice you received or you were advised to accept a settlement of your case when you should not have
  • Your solicitor has taken certain steps to discontinue or settle your claim without fully informing you
  • Your solicitor has taken certain steps without your instructions
  • Your barrister has failed in his duty to advise you on the merits of your claim or has not put your case in its entirety at a hearing. What this means is, that your barrister has failed to cross-examine or use critical evidence which is damning to the success of your action. 
  • Your barrister or solicitor failed to advise you of or failed to realise a Limitation period. That is, there are certain claims where there is a “cut off period” for you to bring legal proceedings
  • Your solicitor or barrister failed to advise you on recent changes in the law and how this might affect the success of your case

As with any other claim for negligence, you must have suffered loss as a result of the breach of duty of care. That is the evidence in going forward must be clear that what your legal adviser has done, is in the circumstances, wrong and you have been disadvantaged as a result of this. 

A claim for professional negligence against your solicitor or barrister covers the range of civil and criminal matters. 

In the case of legal advisers and the new era of direct access, many barristers now act for clients on a direct access basis without the resort to you first instructing a solicitor. What this means is that your barrister conducts your case from start to finish on his own.