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Solicitors Negligence Case Studies

Solicitors Negligence Case Studies

Barrister/Other Lawyer Claims

Barristers Negligence/Employment/Default/Time Limits/Failure to comply with Orders/Directions/Strike Out

Mr C claimed that he was unfairly dismissed by his employer and engaged a barrister himself through the Bar’s Direct Access Scheme to pursue his claim. Unfortunately the barrister failed to file a document at the Employment Tribunal within the required time and Mr C’s claim was dismissed by the Tribunal. As a consequence Mr C lost the right to bring a claim in Employment Tribunal against his employer and lost the chance of recovering compensation for his unfair dimissal. We agreed to act for Mr C under a no win no fee agreement and Mr C received over £20,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Barrister/Property/Litigation advice/Unnecessary litigation/Wasted costs/Loss of Opportunity/Under-Settlement/Conveyancing/Rights of Way/ Restrictive Covenants/Investigation of Title/Part 36 or Protective Offers Advice

Mr and Mrs F had purchased some land in East Yorkshire with a view to developing it for equestrian use. When the Solicitors did their investigation of title they discovered that there was no vehicular access to the land. As a result they began negotiations to obtain the necessary rights. However, although they believed that access rights had been agreed in principle they proceeded with exchange of contracts before a formal right had been granted. By this time the other party appeared to have a change of heart or at least imposed conditions, such as the payment of legal costs, which had not been agreed previously. Mr and Mrs F instructed new Solicitors who took up the correspondence with the neighbour over the right of way. From the outset in this correspondence the neighbour made it clear that he would grant the right of access if his costs were paid. The second Solicitors advised Mr and Mrs F that they were entitled to an unconditional grant and pursued the neighbour through expensive Court proceedings, during which the neighbour persisted in offering a grant if his costs were paid. A Barrister was instructed and he considered the possible claim against the first solicitors and advised on the legal ways in which Mr and Mrs F might be able to claim an existing right of way but he failed to consider an obvious legal argument based upon statutory implied rights and rights implied on a partition of land. The Barrister also advised Mr and Mrs F to continue with the case to Trial without considering that a better outcome and more extensive right was available by negotiation and at a much reduced cost and failed to give proper consideration to the maximum recovery likely in a case against the first Solicitors, if costs were incurred which could have been easily avoided. No advice to settle or make any protective offers was given by either the Solicitor or Barrister and the matter proceeded to Trial, at which Mr and Mrs F were advised by the Barrister and Solicitor to accept a fresh grant on condition they pay all of the costs of the proceedings on both sides and the costs of the grant, in the apparent expectation that these could all be recovered from the first Solicitors. The first Solicitors rejected the claim on the grounds that the litigation was clearly unnecessary.

We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to sue the second Solicitors and the Barrister for professional negligence in their conduct of the litigation and for negligently causing Mr and Mrs F substantial but avoidable litigation costs. The claims were denied but we pursued the matter through Court proceedings against both Defendants and were successful in recovering substantial damages for Mr and Mrs F plus our costs.

We were also instructed by Mr and Mrs F, under a no win no fee agreement, to pursue the first Solicitors for professional negligence in the conveyancing of the property. In addition to the first Solicitors causing part of the expense in obtaining the vehicular right of way they had failed to advise Mr and Mrs F that there was a report condemning the water supply to the land and of the likely costs in providing a new water supply. They had also failed to advise them about a Restrictive Covenant in the Transfer, which prevented them from developing the site without the permission of the Charity Commission. We successfully recovered substantial damages plus costs from the first Solicitors for Mr and Mrs F losses, including the reduction in value of the land due to the defects in title that they had not been advised about.

Barrister/Family/Matrimonial/Failure to obtain Evidence

We were instructed by Mr F under a no win no fee agreement in professional negligence proceedings against his Solicitors and Barrister for failing to obtain and use a proper valuation of his Pension and for advising Mr F to settle the matrimonial ancillary financial proceedings on the basis of an illustration document showing projections, assuming many years of service beyond the date of settlement. The Pension illustration had been so large that it dwarfed the other matrimonial assets and most adjustments to assets and liabilities in Mr F’s favour had been set off against the fictitious Pension figure. The Solicitors and Barrister had used the wrong valuation to settle the case and this was then used in the Consent Order and Pension Annex. We successfully pursued an application within the matrimonial proceedings for the Order to be set aside and replaced with a new Order, reflecting the correct valuation. The net result was that even though the Consent Order could be changed to reflect the proper valuation it could not be changed to undo the set off adjustments, which would have been made differently had the correct valuation been used originally. The Solicitor and Barrister each denied the claim and disputed any losses and blamed each other. We brought proceedings against both Defendants and we successfully recovered substantial damages for Mr F for the lost set off adjustments and the costs of the further matrimonial proceedings plus our costs in the professional negligence proceedings.

Clinical (Medical) Negligence Solicitors Claims

Clinical Negligence/Defective Service of Court Proceedings

Mr M suffered an injury to his Achilles tendons whilst in prison. He was given inadequate treatment by the medical staff and as a consequence did not make a full recovery from the injury. Solicitors were instructed to represent Mr M in his claim for compensation. Unfortunately the solicitors only attempted to serve the proceedings at the end of the maximum period allowed for service and then failed to serve on the Treasury Solicitor as they were required to do by law. As a consequence Mr M could not proceed with his claim as the time within which proceedings had to be served for a valid claim had expired. We agreed to act on behalf of Mr M under a no win no fee agreement against his former solicitor and recovered £5,000 in compensation for him in addition to our costs.

Clinical Negligence/Inadequate preparation/Failure to obtain Evidence/Under-settlement

Mrs C suffered serious injuries when undergoing a surgical procedure. She instructed solicitors to represent her in a claim for damages arising from the surgeon’s negligence. Unfortunately the solicitors pursued the claim through a fast-track scheme and only obtained an expert report dealing with the issue of who was to blame for the injury. They failed to obtain a report dealing with the consequences of the injury and did not ask the expert to report on the claimant’s condition or to provide a prognosis dealing with how the injury would affect the claimant in the future. As a consequence the claimant was advised to accept a settlement payment, which did not represent adequate compensation for the serious injury she had sustained. Mrs C received around £26,000. Mrs C contacted us because she felt that her compensation was inadequate. She was continuing to suffer from problems caused by the injury and subsequently had to take early retirement. Her previous solicitors had taken no account of Mrs C’s on-going problems and had not considered the impact these symptoms would have on her future earning capacity. We agreed to take on the case against the Solicitors for the Under-settlement of her Medical Negligence case under her existing legal expenses insurance. We obtained full medical evidence to carry out a proper valuation of Mrs C’s claim and succeeded in recovering in excess of £300,000 from the Solicitors for Mrs C plus our costs.

Medical/Clinical Negligence/Inadequate preparation/Failure to obtain Evidence/Failure to claim all heads of Loss

Mrs A received quite horrible and traumatic injuries during the birth of her son, which required ongoing treatment and care. She instructed Solicitors specialising in medical negligence claims who obtained medical evidence to establish the negligence of the Hospital. They pursued her case to Trial, where they succeeded in recovering just over £30,000 for Mrs A.  Mrs A contacted us because she felt that she should have received her lost wages of about £6,000 from when she stopped work to the date of the Trial, as she had by then been able to return to work, but the Judge had said that they had not been included in the claim. When we looked at the files we saw that the Solicitors had not taken much notice of the ongoing problems being suffered by Mrs A, including her need for further surgery, the fact that she was unable to work at the date of Trial and the risk that she might not be able to continue working in the future. The Solicitors had only obtained a provisional report from one Doctor, which had not been updated and no evidence had been obtained about her ongoing treatment or the impact of the injuries upon he ability to work and inadequate evidence had been obtained as to her earnings. The Solicitors had also failed to advise about a proper claim for care and assistance, a future loss of earnings claim and loss to her pension. After the claim had finished the Solicitors deducted an additional success fee from the damages, which they were not entitled to under their funding agreement. We agreed to pursue the Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement and succeeded in recovering from them in excess of £90,000 for Mrs A plus our costs.

Commercial Solicitors Claims

Commercial/Landlord and Tenant/Property

We were instructed by Mr M under a no win no fee agreement to pursue professional negligence proceedings against his previous Solicitors in respect of their advice and representation concerning a commercial lease. Mr M had instructed Solicitors to prepare a Lease for a new Tenant but it was not ready in time. Unfortunately some years after moving in, the Tenant stopped paying the rent and the Solicitors advised him to send the Bailiffs in. After some but not all rent was recovered, on the Solicitors advice, he forfeited the Lease and took possession. The Tenant brought proceedings for Unlawful eviction and claimed tens of thousands of pounds in damages in respect of his ‘lost business’. Unfortunately Mr M had not had the right to terminate the Lease and throw the Tenant out because there was no written Lease and no common law right to forfeit applied in his case. Mr M faced very substantial liabilities with a claim against him for £120,000 in losses and tens of thousands of pounds in costs. Having fought and settled the Unlawful eviction proceedings for Mr M at a much more realistic level we then successfully negotiated a settlement of his claim against his previous Solicitors and recovered substantial damages and costs from his previous Solicitors.

Commercial/Landlord and Tenant/ Property/Right to renew/ Missing Time limits/Failure to register Option to renew/Challenging Landlord’s right to possession on expiry of Lease/Loss of Profits

Mr B was the Tenant of commercial premises and had negotiated a 5-year lease with an option to renew for 5 years. At the end of the 5-year Lease a new company, which had taken over as Landlord served formal notice to quit and informed him that he had to move out and the Landlord would oppose any application for a new tenancy on the grounds of intention to redevelop. Mr B consulted his Solicitors who advised him that his right to a new lease had elapsed and that he ought to move out because he could not challenge the Landlord’s reasons for not renewing the Lease. Mr B had to move premises at considerable expense and having lost his prime trading location suffered a substantial loss in profits. Mr B instructed our firm under a no win no fee agreement to pursue professional negligence proceedings against his previous Solicitors.  The Solicitors had negligently failed to register his option to renew his Lease at the Land Registry and had negligently failed to advise him that he could challenge the reasons given by the Landlord and apply to Court for a new Tenancy, provided he did so within the prescribed time limits. As Mr B was not aware of them he had not applied to Court and was no longer entitled to renew his lease even if the Landlord’s reasons turned out to be spurious. The Solicitors had failed to advise Mr B to challenge the need to possession of the whole site to carry out their proposed works and enquiries revealed that had the position been checked with proper enquiries of the Planning Authority there was little evidence of the need for possession of Mr B’s unit at all. The Solicitors denied liability and alleged that there were no losses connected with the change in premises. We brought Court proceedings against the previous Solicitors and shortly before Trial they agreed to pay Mr B substantial damages plus our costs.

Commercial/Landlord and Tenant/Property/Covenants/Student Lettings

Mr A owned the freehold of some commercial premises. The ground floor was let out as a shop and the upper floors had been converted for use as student flats, producing a substantial monthly income. When Mr A first bought the property it was a Leasehold interest in the upper floors and his solicitors did not advise him that there was a restrictive covenant in the Lease which prevented the upper floors from being used other than by a family in single occupation. No enforcement action had been taken and the error was remedied for the time being when Mr A acquired the freehold of the whole property as the benefit of the covenant, which he was not aware of, then vested in him. However, Mr A decided to sell the freehold of the property to the leasehold owner of the shop below and his Solicitors failed to advise him that once the sale was completed his main income could be lost if the new freehold owner decided to enforce the covenant in the Lease. The Solicitors even agreed to some variations in the Lease requested by the Buyer and represented him in approving the Deed of Variation, but omitted to seek to vary the covenant in the Lease to reflect the de facto position of occupation for student lettings, which all parties were aware about. The new owner did object to any occupation in breach of the covenant and required Mr A to terminate all student lettings. Mr A’s Solicitors did not appear to recognise the conflict of interests and advised him to challenge the Buyer’s interpretation of the covenant. There were then costly proceedings in the Leasehold Tribunal, which Mr A lost and was left with all costs to pay. By the time that Mr A contacted us he was facing all of these costs and the prospect of losing his main income, having had to start giving notice for his students to leave. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue professional negligence proceedings against the previous Solicitors. We negotiated with the Solicitors’ Insurers and the Landlord’s Solicitors on an urgent basis and were able to agree a lump sum payment, funded by the Insurers to buy off the covenant, completed a Deed of Variation of the Lease so that multiple occupation could continue and then recovered from the previous Solicitors a substantial sum in damages for Mr A’s losses incurred to that point plus our costs.

Commercial/Conflicts of Interest/Acting for both sides/Disclosure of relevant Information/Fiduciary Duties/Property/Investigation of Title

Mr S purchased a Hot Food Takeaway business but found that as soon as he had taken over the business the trade began to fall off. Although he had spent a little time in the business being shown the ropes and it seemed very busy, in fact the Seller had been running a cut-price promotion at non-profitable rates and the level of proper trade had been artificially exaggerated. Mr S had not seen any trading accounts because he had been told they were not available but the Seller’s verbal figures appeared to be supported by the level of trade. When he had bought the business he was taken to the same Solicitor as the Seller and they shared the legal costs and he believed that the Solicitor was acting on both sides even though he had never done business with them before. The Solicitor did not tell him that the Property was owned by the Seller’s parents and was leased by them to someone who had been closed down by the Local Authority on Food Safety and Hygiene grounds and who had gone bankrupt. The Solicitor acted for the Seller’s parents in granting a new Lease to Mr S but documented his file to say that he was not acting for the Seller, although he drafted, completed and signed the usual documents on the Seller’s behalf.  Mr S could not make the business profitable and arranged to sell it on. When he instructed new Solicitors to act in the sale they discovered that his lease was not registered and there was already another lease registered to the bankrupt. The first Solicitor agreed to do all the work necessary with the Trustee in Bankruptcy to get the first Lease disclaimed and removed from the Register and for the new Lease to be registered but this took time and caused the Buyers to reduce the price they were willing to pay. Eventually the business was sold for a reduced price and Mr S was disappointed because he had not only lost the capital invested but also the income he could have earned elsewhere had he been able to get out sooner. In fact the price he paid for the original business could not have been justified by the trading position of the business because it had been closed for some time and then re-opened by the owner’s son, presumably to generate a trading base for a sale. There was no evidence to suggest that the Seller had ever acquired the assets of the business or the right to trade there and as Mr S now knew there had been no successful trading in any event. Mr S had borrowed money at a high rate of interest by way of re-mortgage to finance the purchase and when this was insufficient to meet the Seller’s asking price the Solicitor was involved in arrangements for him to borrow more money through a personal loan. Mr S believed that he had been hoodwinked and that his Solicitor had failed to protect him, however he had not made any checks into the business himself and the Solicitor had file notes saying that he had advised Mr S to get the accounts checked by an Accountant.

We were instructed by Mr S under a no win no fee agreement to pursue the original Solicitors for professional negligence. Our investigations established that as the Solicitor had put right the legal defects in the title, for that breach of duty Mr S could only claim the reduced selling price and interest due to the delay, rather than the losses caused by the original transaction, which the Solicitors maintained were caused by the original decision to purchase the business i.e. a bad business deal negotiated by him rather than bad legal advice causing a loss.

We successfully made out a case for greater losses from the original transaction based upon a wider breach of duty and breach of fiduciary duty, on the basis that the Solicitors were acting for all parties and therefore owed Mr S a duty to pass on information about the business known to them as a result of their instructions on behalf of the other parties. The claim for damages for breach was not defeated by a duty of confidentiality to the other parties as the Solicitors had put themselves in a position where they owed conflicting duties. We succeeded in recovering from the original Solicitors substantial damages for Mr S, plus our costs.

Commercial/ Business Purchase/Permissions and Consents

Mr L agreed to buy a Restaurant. As the Lease was only quite short he agreed to take out a new Lease with the Landlord and to buy the existing Business from the Seller. The Solicitor acting for Mr L informed him that the Seller had said that there was a drinks licence but if he wanted to see any documents he should contact the Seller. Mr L informed the Solicitor that he expected the Solicitor to check the paperwork and not to have to do it himself. The Solicitor then left the firm and matters appeared to become quite urgent. The Solicitor taking over the work completed the purchase of the business without checking whether there was any drinks licence and also before a new Lease had been agreed with the Landlord. The money paid by Mr L for the business was wasted unless and until the lease was agreed and completed. Approximately 2 months later the Lease was completed at which time the Solicitor said that he would put Mr L in touch with a Licensing Agent (the Agent) to deal with the transfer of the drinks licence. Unfortunately it then became clear that the drinks licence was in the Seller’s wife’s name and had elapsed and had not been renewed. Mr L had to delay opening his Restaurant due to the lack of a drinks licence. We were instructed by Mr L under a no win no fee agreement to pursue the original Solicitors for professional negligence. The Solicitors denied liability on the grounds of no breach, causation or loss. The Restaurant had not been profitable and the only claim that could be made was for the expense of maintaining the premises and equipment until a licence could be obtained. The Solicitors disputed every aspect of the claim and proceedings became necessary. The Solicitors then at a late stage produced some file notes from the Solicitor and correspondence from the Agent, which had not been disclosed in the original file and which, if true, established that Mr L was not going to open the Restaurant on time anyway. We carried out a further detailed review of the files and those of the Agent and were able to cast considerable doubt on the authenticity and validity of the documents disclosed. The proceedings were stayed for negotiations and we successfully negotiated a substantial settlement of Mr L’s claim including our costs of the proceedings.

Conveyancing/Property Solicitors Claims

Property/Conveyancing/Contract Races

Mr D wished to purchase a property being sold by a Receiver who was selling property belonging to Mr D’s relative on behalf of the Bank. Mr D had a special interest in buying this property because he knew what monies had been invested in the property by his relative and that he was likely to be able to purchase it at a substantial discount. The Receiver decided to issue 2 contracts one to Mr D and one to another prospective buyer who had put in a higher bid. When Mr D’s Solicitors received the contracts from the Receiver’s Solicitors they were informed that it was a contract race but Mr D’s Solicitors did not take any immediate action or inform Mr B until it was too late. The Receiver received a signed contract from the other buyer and sold to them. We agreed to act for Mr D under a no win no fee agreement and Mr D received £20,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Property/Conveyancing/Equity Release/ Property purchase companies/Lease back deals

Mr N had inherited a property from his father and was considering selling it. He saw an advertisement for quick property sales with the capital being released to him and the right to continue living there. He agreed to proceed and the Property Company gave him the name of a Solicitor to do his conveyancing for him. The Contracts were drawn at a reduced price and with part of the price being used for repairs to be carried out by the buyer. The price eventually received by Mr N was only a small proportion of the value of the property. The Solicitor got him to sign an assured shorthold tenancy to cover his occupation of his house but failed to advise him that there was no security of tenure and after the initial fixed term of 12 months he could be thrown out without any reason whatsoever. The inevitable repossession of the house took place after the fixed term had expired leaving Mr N with very little and the Property Company with a very large profit. After failing to find a way to challenge the Property Company Mr N consulted us and we agreed to act on a no win no fee basis in a claim against his previous Solicitor. Mr N successfully recovered over £87,000 in compensation from his previous Solicitor and in addition our costs were paid.

Property/Conveyancing/Building Regulations/Architect’s Certificates/Planning Permission

We were instructed by Mr G in connection with problems with his new build property. After completion Mr G discovered that there was no valid planning permission or Building Regulation Certificates for his property and the Architect’s Certificate was unlikely to provide any come-back as it was seriously limited and was issued after completion and could not have been relied upon in proceeding with the purchase. The Developer then went into liquidation and the intended Maintenance company ceased to exist and the common parts vested in the Crown. Mr G was not the only Buyer with this problem and there was a general blighting affect on property values on the estate. Mr G had been paying other Solicitors to claim compensation from the first Solicitors but had not made much progress over a lengthy period. We agreed to act for Mr G on a no win no fee agreement to pursue a professional negligence claim against the conveyancing Solicitors. Although the planning issues had been overtaken by the lack of enforcement in the intervening years and the known defects in the property were not as extensive as they could have been, our expert evidence showed that there was a substantial difference in value from the correct price due to the building regulation compliance issues and the general effect of uncertainty when no completion certificate had been obtained and the problems with other similar properties nearby. We successfully recovered losses of over £80,000 from the conveyancing Solicitors plus our costs.

Property/Conveyancing/Missing Listed Building Consent

Mr and Mrs T purchased a property in Bradford and only found out by chance after they had moved in that the property was a Listed Building and that the previous owner had replaced the windows with UPVC windows without the Council’s Listed Building Consent. We were instructed in a professional negligence claim against the conveyancing Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement and successfully recovered the cost of replacing the windows again plus interest and costs.

Property/Conveyancing/Plans/Boundaries/Contracts/Indemnity Insurance/Investigation of Title

Mr and Mrs R purchased a new build property in Rotherham. On the day of exchange of contracts the Solicitors informed Mr R that there was an issue over the plan for the property but that it was in order to proceed because the Seller/Builder had agreed to resolve the problem with the Land Registry and in default to provide an Indemnity Policy. The purchase was completed but the Seller was not able to establish title to part of the land and in fact the boundary ran down the front drive and through the garage. The Solicitors tried to get the Indemnity Policy and the Seller’s Insurers wanted a statutory declaration from

Mr and Mrs R that they did not know who owned the land and that their occupation and ownership was not disputed. However, the land was clearly registered to the adjoining owner and by this time he had made himself known and wanted paying to release the land. Mr and Mrs R had to refuse to sign the statutory declaration and so no Insurance was put in place. Mr and Mrs R put the Seller in touch with the adjoining owner so that they could agree for the transfer of the land but no agreement could be reached about the price. As a result Mr and Mrs R were left with a serious title problem for their property, which would have a significant effect on its value.  We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the conveyancing Solicitors and for breach of contract against the Sellers/Builders under a no win no fee agreement. Unfortunately, neither of the Defendants would accept responsibility, blaming each other and Mr and Mrs R! The adjoining owner in the meantime lost patience waiting for the Builder to agree his price for the land and dumped a huge Container on Mr and Mrs R’s drive and erected a fence down the middle of their drive. We helped Mr and Mrs R pursue both Defendants through Court proceedings, which resulted in the Builder buying the land from the adjoining owner, who then removed the Container and fence and both Defendants made proposals in settlement. With our help Mr and Mrs R received the Transfer of the missing land and recovered substantial damages and costs.

Property/Conveyancing/Plans/Boundaries/Investigation of Title

Mr and Mrs W purchased a property in Hyde, Cheshire and their Solicitors did not point out that there were shared rights affecting the rear yard area, which according to the conveyancing plans extended to the inner original wall of their property. This meant that a lean-to extension was built on land, which did not belong to them. The loss of the extension would have a significant impact on the value of their property. We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the conveyancing Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement. The Solicitor’s firm had closed down and had no current Insurer and we helped Mr and Mrs W recover substantial damages and costs, through an Insurer appointed by the Law Society.

Property/Conveyancing/Investigation of Title/ Building Regulation Completion Certificate/ NHBC Guarantee or Architect’s Certificate/Surveys

Mr V purchased a new property in Leeds. The conveyancing solicitors failed to advise him about the lack of a Building Regulation Completion Certificate or the lack of an NHBC Guarantee or Architect’s Certificate. As the property was new Mr V had not followed the Solicitor’s advice to have a survey carried out. When Mr V began to notice problems with the property and had contractors in to carry out repairs he was advised to get full reports and discovered a long list of serious defects in the construction of the property, including a long list of things that the Council wanted completing before they would issue the Building Regulation Completion Certificate. We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the conveyancing Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement.

The solicitors argued that they had not been negligent and that had Mr V had a survey carried out he would have avoided all of the losses, so that he was the author of his own misfortune, for failing to follow their advice. We were able to establish that the solicitors had been negligent and through detailed expert evidence, show that most of the defects/loss in value of the property would not have been avoided, even if he had followed their advice. As a result Mr V recovered substantial damages for the diminution in value of his property plus our costs, from the solicitors

Property/Conveyancing/Searches/Mine Shaft

Mrs H purchased a property in County Durham but was not aware of any mining issues affecting it. She had extended the property substantially but when she came to sell it the Buyers pulled out when their Coal Mine Search revealed a Coal Mine Shaft in close proximity to the property. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the conveyancing Solicitors, which by this time had ceased to practice. The Insurers denied liability, causation and loss and argued that the claim was out of time because the property had been purchased 14 years previously, which was well outside the primary limitation period of 6 years. We brought proceedings on Mrs H ‘s behalf against the one living former partner of the Solicitors and the Personal Representatives of a deceased partner and successfully argued that her date of knowledge for limitation purposes was when the Buyers pulled out and she discovered the reason was the Coal Mine Shaft. As we had commenced proceedings within 3 years of this date and within 15 years of the original transaction Mrs H could still proceed due to the provisions of the Latent Damage Act. We then recovered substantial damages for the reduction in value of the property and the loss of benefit of the value of the extensions to it, from the Defendant’s Insurers plus our costs, for their failure to carry out and advise upon a Coal Mine Search.

Barrister/Property/Litigation advice/Unnecessary litigation/Wasted costs/Loss of Opportunity/Under-Settlement/Conveyancing/Rights of Way/ Restrictive Covenants/Investigation of Title

Mr and Mrs F had purchased some land in East Yorkshire with a view to developing it for equestrian use. When the Solicitors did their investigation of title they discovered that there was no vehicular access to the land. As a result they began negotiations to obtain the necessary rights. However, although they believed that access rights had been agreed in principle they proceeded with exchange of contracts before a formal right had been granted. By this time the other party appeared to have a change of heart or at least imposed conditions, such as the payment of legal costs, which had not been agreed previously. Mr and Mrs F instructed new Solicitors who took up the correspondence with the neighbour over the right of way. From the outset in this correspondence the neighbour made it clear that he would grant the right of access if his costs were paid. The second Solicitors advised Mr and Mrs F that they were entitled to an unconditional grant and pursued the neighbour through expensive Court proceedings, during which the neighbour persisted in offering a grant if his costs were paid. A Barrister was instructed and he considered the possible claim against the first solicitors and advised on the legal ways in which Mr and Mrs F might be able to claim an existing right of way but he failed to consider an obvious legal argument based upon statutory implied rights and rights implied on a partition of land. The Barrister also advised Mr and Mrs F to continue with the case to Trial without considering that a better outcome and more extensive right was available by negotiation and at a much reduced cost and failed to give proper consideration to the maximum recovery likely in a case against the first Solicitors, if costs were incurred which could have been easily avoided. No advice to settle or make any offers was given by either the Solicitor or Barrister and the matter proceeded to Trial, at which Mr and Mrs F were advised by the Barrister and Solicitor to accept a fresh grant on condition they pay all of the costs of the proceedings on both sides and the costs of the grant, in the apparent expectation that these could all be recovered from the first Solicitors. The first Solicitors rejected the claim on the grounds that the litigation was clearly unnecessary.

We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to sue the second Solicitors and the Barrister for professional negligence in their conduct of the litigation and for negligently causing Mr and Mrs F substantial but avoidable litigation costs. The claims were denied but we pursued the matter through Court proceedings against both Defendants and were successful in recovering substantial damages for Mr and Mrs F plus our costs.

We were also instructed by Mr and Mrs F, under a no win no fee agreement, to pursue the first Solicitors for professional negligence in the conveyancing of the property. In addition to the first Solicitors causing part of the expense in obtaining the vehicular right of way they had failed to advise Mr and Mrs F that there was a report condemning the water supply to the land and of the likely costs in providing a new water supply. They had also failed to advise them about a Restrictive Covenant in the Transfer, which prevented them from developing the site without the permission of the Charity Commission. We successfully recovered substantial damages plus costs from the first Solicitors for Mr and Mrs F losses, including the reduction in value of the land due to the defects in title that they had not been advised about.

Criminal Solicitors Claims

Criminal/Confiscation Orders/Enforcement/Delay/Unnecessary further Imprisonment

Mr F had been convicted of a serious offence and sent to prison. A Confiscation Order had also been made based upon incorrect facts about the value of Mr F’s assets. Mr F’s Solicitors took up his case to challenge the Confiscation Order but persistently adopted the wrong procedure. An appeal to the Crown Court was adjourned so that the Solicitors could use the correct procedure and lodge an application for a Certificate of Inadequacy at the High Court. In the meantime the Crown Prosecution Service was taking enforcement action in the Magistrates Court and after some adjournments the Solicitors were warned that there would be no more time given. However, although a draft application was prepared the Solicitors again sent it to the wrong Court and by the time it reached the High Court in London there was no time for a contested Hearing prior to the next Magistrates Court Hearing. When the enforcement application was heard in the magistrates Court there was still no Certificate of Inadequacy and Mr F who had by this time been released was sent to prison for a further 130 days for breach of the Confiscation Order. We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the previous Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement and successfully recovered significant damages for Mr F plus our costs.

Criminal/Remand time/Delay/Unlawful detention

Mr D was imprisoned for serious offences but his Solicitors failed to bring to the attention of the sentencing Court the correct remand time he had served which resulted in the Court being unable to award him the appropriate discount to his sentence. The correct discount was later applied by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division on appeal, after Mr D had been detained longer than he would have been had the sentencing Court been informed of the correct dates. The Solicitors blamed Mr D for not giving them the relevant information, however, they had ignored a timely request from him for them to look into it until it was too late for the error to be corrected on review. The Solicitors then blamed the Crown Prosecution Service and the Prisons for not providing information to correct the error sooner and the Court for causing the prolonged detention. We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the previous Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement and successfully recovered significant damages for Mr D plus our costs.

Disputes and Litigation Solicitors Claims

Litigation/Boundary Disputes/Advice as to merits/Offers Advice/Appeal Advice

Mrs P had been involved in costly and drawn out proceedings with her neighbour in respect of their boundary. Proceedings in trespass had been brought against the neighbour and were won at Trial and Mrs P was able to demolish a wall built by her neighbour on her land and claim compensation for the costs of doing so and in making good with a new fence. Further proceedings were completed successfully in recovering the damages for these works and substantial costs had been paid by Mrs P, which the neighbour was responsible for but the claim for costs had not been vigorously pursued. In the meantime the neighbour sought to challenge the Judgement. He was refused permission to appeal but after a new fence had been erected and over 2 years after the judgement the neighbour started trespass proceedings against Mrs P and then applied for and obtained a clarification of the original Judgement, which changed the line of the boundary, making the new fence automatically a trespass against the neighbour. Mrs P’s solicitors failed to deal with these second trespass proceedings and the clarification application adequately, advising her not to appeal but to raise the matter at Trial for further clarification. The solicitors failed to advise Mrs P that she would lose at Trial and how to deal with this. The matter proceeded to Trial, which Mrs P lost and was ordered to move the fence and pay damages to be assessed in further proceedings and all of the costs. In the further proceedings the neighbour claimed substantial unsupported sums in damages and costs and Mrs P’s solicitors failed to advise her of the risks and costs involved. When Mrs P realised the position she was in she left her previous solicitors and asked us to help her defend the claim for damages, to defend the costs claim, pursue her costs claim and pursue the solicitors for any losses caused by their negligence. We took over the existing proceedings on the basis that she would be responsible for our costs but we would seek to recover them as damages in a negligence claim against the solicitors when the case was finalised. We advised her to make a generous but modest offer to the neighbour in respect of the damages, as although the neighbour was unlikely to accept it, the offer would protect her at Trial. The neighbour did not accept the offer and we helped defend the claim to Trial, the neighbour recovering only a proportion of our offer. As a result Mrs P became liable for the neighbour’s costs only up to our offer and he was ordered to pay Mrs P’s costs from the offer up to and including the Trial. We successfully negotiated a settlement of the costs due to Mrs P for the original proceedings and the costs due to the neighbour for the second proceedings, however, further costly costs proceedings ensued as the neighbour would not agree the net costs due from him for the last set of proceedings. Once these final costs proceedings were finalised it was clear that Mrs P was substantially out of pocket and we successfully helped her pursue a professional negligence claim against the solicitors under a no win no fee agreement and recovered £40,000 for her plus costs.

Civil Litigation/Wrong claim/Merits Advice/Offers Advice

Mr L had bought a Lodge on a Park on the basis that it would be held on a long lease; however, the paperwork did not create a properly binding contract for an interest in land. When problems arose with regard to the planning permission at the Park and a dispute arose over paying for the services on the site, the Park owners cut off the services to the Lodge. Further, although a draft lease had been prepared for Mr L’s consideration and in fact many different drafts had been produced, no agreement had been reached in respect of the terms of any lease and the matter remained uncertain. Mr L had not used solicitors for the purchase but consulted solicitors about the dispute with the Park Owners. Mr L was advised to bring proceedings for breach of contract against the Park Owners and they defended the proceedings on the basis that the contract was not enforceable in respect of an interest in land. The Park Owners had been still willing to grant a lease on the terms of the drafts previously produced but unaware of any legal problems with his position Mr L insisted instead that the planning and services matters be resolved first. The matter went to Trial and Mr L lost and was ordered to pay his opponent’s costs. At this point Mr L had a Lodge resting on land belonging to the Park Home without any legal right for it to be there and even if the structure of the Lodge belonged to him there was no practical way of removing it from site. The total loss he was facing in the value of the Lodge could have been around £170,000. To make matters worse the original owners went bust and their Administrators sold the site to new owners. The new owners took possession of the Lodge and changed the locks. We were consulted and agreed to pursue a case for a legal interest in the land on the basis that Mr L would be responsible for our costs but we would seek to recover them as damages from the previous solicitors in a professional negligence claim, once the extent of his losses had been ascertained. We commenced proceedings against the new Park owners setting out a case on equitable grounds using a constructive trust argument. The claim was defended by the new Park Owners however the proceedings were successfully compromised whereby the terms of a lease were agreed with each side bearing their own costs. We then acted for Mr L under a no win no fee agreement in the professional negligence claim against his previous Solicitors and recovered Mr L’s losses plus our costs.

Breach of Contract/Failure to obtain Evidence/Limitation Date/Time Limit for Issuing Proceedings/Time Barred

Mr N had a policy of insurance under which he would receive monthly payments in the event he was unable to work as a consequence of illness. During a period of absence from work the insurer made some initial payments and then stopped on the basis they believed that Mr N was not entitled to further payments under the policy. Mr N did not agree with this decision and instructed solicitors to make a claim against the insurance company for breach of contract. Unfortunately the solicitors failed to issue Court proceedings within the six year time limit against the insurance company because they had miscalculated the correct starting point when dealing with an Insurance contract. The Court struck out Mr N’s claim as it was found to be out of time. We agreed to represent Mr N under a no win, no fee agreement in a claim against his solicitors as their failure to issue Court proceedings in time meant that Mr N lost the chance of recovering damages from the insurance company for their breach of contract. The Solicitors argued that they had relied upon Counsel’s advice as to the limitation date and the original proceedings were of no merit or value because there was no supporting medical evidence to show entitlement under the policy and as Mr N had renewed the policy (under a right to renewal clause) after the Insurance company had disputed the original claim he was estopped from pursuing the claim against the Insurance company. As the file demonstrated that the solicitors had not relied upon the Barrister as to the correct time limit, that the solicitors had been responsible for the failure to get supporting medical evidence and the technical rules as to estoppel did not apply on the facts in this case, we succeeded in recovering £40,000 for Mr N plus our costs.

Claim Against the Police for Assault/Unlawful Arrest/False Imprisonment/ Limitation Date/Time barred

In the process of being arrested by the police Mr C was injured. The warrant under which he was arrested was defective and he therefore wished to pursue a claim for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and assault. The solicitor he instructed failed to issue Court proceedings against the police for several years at a time when the time limit was 6 years with no discretionary extension. The time limit had then changed to 3 years subject to discretionary extension by the Court. The Solicitors still did not do anything and as a consequence the claim made on behalf Mr C could not continue and he could not recover compensation. We agreed to act for Mr C under a no win no fee agreement in a claim in negligence against the Solicitors. The Solicitors maintained that they were not liable because the original case against the Police on the evidence had no merit or value and/or had been time barred as a result of a change in the law and not due to the fault of the Solicitors. We successfully refuted these arguments and Mr C received £12,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Civil Litigation/Disputes/Proprietary Estoppel/Inheritance claims/Failing to Prepare/Costs Inclusive settlements

Mr S worked as a farmhand for Mr and Mrs T who had promised to look after him financially and they treated him as their child and he relied on these promises in looking after them. The promises continued after Mr T’s death. However, when Mrs T died it became apparent that Mr S had not been given the promised financial provision and most of the estate went to Mrs T’s real family. It was believed that there was a case in Proprietary estoppel and witness evidence was available to support this. However, the Barrister instructed advised to leave these claims to one side and to review them once other urgent proceedings had been commenced. This was because the Barrister believed that Mr S qualified to apply under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 as someone treated as a child and the deadline for making the application was about to pass. Neither the Barrister nor the Solicitor realised that Mr S could not qualify as being treated as a child because he was not a child of either of them. The Solicitor pursued the 1975 Act claim without seeking any further advice until it was due to be set down for Trial, at which point when the Barrister was asked if the 1975 Act claim passed the Legal Aid merits test she was very clear in her advice that it was unlikely to succeed, as no evidence of dependency had emerged during the case. As a result Legal Aid was withdrawn but the Solicitors continued to assist Mr S take the case to Trial on a private basis so that his case could be heard, without advising him to seek to amend the proceedings to include a Proprietary Estoppel claim. At Trial his 1975 Act claim was dismissed and he was ordered to pay the estate’s costs. Mr S then instructed a second firm of Solicitors who successfully recovered a significant sum from the Estate for the Proprietary Estoppel claim but Mr S believed that the amount that he received was far less than he would have received had the first Solicitor not been negligent.

We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the previous Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement. We reviewed all of the previous files and advised that had the Proprietary Estoppel claims been included in the original case Mr S would have recovered substantially more not least because the estate had deducted the whole costs of the first set of proceedings from their settlement offer and Mr S had felt compelled to accept the offer because his Insurance cover could not be extended, which would not have been relevant if the claim had been pursued within the first claim funded by Legal Aid. We successfully recovered substantial damages for Mr F plus our costs from the first Solicitor. We also recovered a further significant sum for Mr S plus costs from the second Solicitor who had advised Mr S to accept a costs inclusive offer on the basis of one figure for their costs but had then deducted significantly more than this from his damages.

Civil Litigation/Guarantees/Undue Influence/Failure prepare evidence and for Trial/Under-Settlement

Mrs E provided loan monies to Mr D for his business and Mrs D guaranteed the loan.  Her Solicitors at the time purported to provide Mrs D with independent advice about the Guarantee but as Mrs E was related to one of the partners in the firm and they also acted for her it was highly unlikely that the advice was truly independent. Further the Solicitor providing the advice had not kept a full note of the advice given. When the loan was not repaid and Mrs E sued Mrs D under the Guarantee. Mrs D denied liability under the Guarantee disputing her voluntary signature and alleging undue influence. She alleged that anything said by Mrs E’s Solicitors could not be regarded as independent so as to dispel the suspicion of undue influence created by the circumstances where a wife is guaranteeing a husband’s business liabilities. When the first Solicitors realised that there was a conflict of interests they handed over the case to a second firm. The second Solicitors pursued the case almost to Trial but then advised Mrs E to accept a settlement, which included a compromise of any claim she might have against the first Solicitors, without informing her or explaining the effect of this condition. As the condition was entirely gratuitous and did not benefit Mrs D there was every chance that a settlement could have been achieved even if she had objected to it. However, on reviewing the file it became clear that as the case had approached Trial, it had not been prepared properly and the necessary evidence and Bundles for Trial were not ready. It became clear that the driving force behind acceptance of the settlement was the negligence of the second solicitors in failing to prepare the case for Trial.

We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the second Solicitors for failing to prepare for Trial properly and advising Mrs E to settle on inappropriate terms, including giving up a right of action against the first Solicitors for no reason. We then successfully recovered substantial damages and costs from the second Solicitors.

Barrister/Property/Litigation advice/Unnecessary litigation/Wasted costs/Loss of Opportunity/Under-Settlement/Conveyancing/Rights of Way/ Restrictive Covenants/Investigation of Title/Part 36 or Protective Offers Advice

Mr and Mrs F had purchased some land in East Yorkshire with a view to developing it for equestrian use. When the Solicitors did their investigation of title they discovered that there was no vehicular access to the land. As a result they began negotiations to obtain the necessary rights. However, although they believed that access rights had been agreed in principle they proceeded with exchange of contracts before a formal right had been granted. By this time the other party appeared to have a change of heart or at least imposed conditions, such as the payment of legal costs, which had not been agreed previously. Mr and Mrs F instructed new Solicitors who took up the correspondence with the neighbour over the right of way. From the outset in this correspondence the neighbour made it clear that he would grant the right of access if his costs were paid. The second Solicitors advised Mr and Mrs F that they were entitled to an unconditional grant and pursued the neighbour through expensive Court proceedings, during which the neighbour persisted in offering a grant if his costs were paid. A Barrister was instructed and he considered the possible claim against the first solicitors and advised on the legal ways in which Mr and Mrs F might be able to claim an existing right of way but he failed to consider an obvious legal argument based upon statutory implied rights and rights implied on a partition of land. The Barrister also advised Mr and Mrs F to continue with the case to Trial without considering that a better outcome and more extensive right was available by negotiation and at a much reduced cost and failed to give proper consideration to the maximum recovery likely in a case against the first Solicitors, if costs were incurred which could have been easily avoided. No advice to settle or make any protective offers was given by either the Solicitor or Barrister and the matter proceeded to Trial, at which Mr and Mrs F were advised by the Barrister and Solicitor to accept a fresh grant on condition they pay all of the costs of the proceedings on both sides and the costs of the grant, in the apparent expectation that these could all be recovered from the first Solicitors. The first Solicitors rejected the claim on the grounds that the litigation was clearly unnecessary.

We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to sue the second Solicitors and the Barrister for professional negligence in their conduct of the litigation and for negligently causing Mr and Mrs F substantial but avoidable litigation costs. The claims were denied but we pursued the matter through Court proceedings against both Defendants and were successful in recovering substantial damages for Mr and Mrs F plus our costs.

We were also instructed by Mr and Mrs F, under a no win no fee agreement, to pursue the first Solicitors for professional negligence in the conveyancing of the property. In addition to the first Solicitors causing part of the expense in obtaining the vehicular right of way they had failed to advise Mr and Mrs F that there was a report condemning the water supply to the land and of the likely costs in providing a new water supply. They had also failed to advise them about a Restrictive Covenant in the Transfer, which prevented them from developing the site without the permission of the Charity Commission. We successfully recovered substantial damages plus costs from the first Solicitors for Mr and Mrs F losses, including the reduction in value of the land due to the defects in title that they had not been advised about.

Employment Solicitors Claims

Employment/Barristers Negligence/Default/Time Limits/Failure to comply with Orders/Directions/Strike Out

Mr C claimed that he was unfairly dismissed by his employer and engaged a barrister himself through the Bar’s Direct Access Scheme to pursue his claim. Unfortunately the barrister failed to file a document at the Employment Tribunal within the required time and Mr C’s claim was dismissed by the Tribunal. As a consequence Mr C lost the right to bring a claim in Employment Tribunal against his employer and lost the chance of recovering compensation for his unfair dimissal. We agreed to act for Mr C under a no win no fee agreement and Mr C received over £20,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Employment/Time delay affecting compensation

Ms F made an Equal Pay Claim against her employer using her Union appointed solicitor. Unfortunately the solicitor delayed in submitting the claim to the Tribunal and as a consequence Ms F received a reduced amount of compensation from her employer. Realising their mistake the solicitors offered Ms F a sum of money which she believed was inadequate compensation.

We agreed to act for Ms F under a no win no fee agreement and Ms F received over £8,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.  The compensation was considerably higher than Ms F had been offered before we were instructed to pursue her claim.

Employment/Failure to raise Grievance/Time Limits/Default

Mrs G had an Equal Pay Claim against her employer. She instructed a solicitor to pursue the claim on her behalf. Before the claim could be issued in the Employment Tribunal a letter of grievance had to be served on the employer within a set time limit. The solicitor failed to correctly serve the letter of grievance and then went on to issue the claim in the Employment Tribunal.

Mrs G’s employer contested her claim on the basis of the breach of the rule requiring service of the letter of grievance and the Employment Tribunal found in their favour and dismissed Mrs G’s claim. As a consequence Mrs G lost the opportunity to recover compensation from her employer.

We agreed to act for Mrs G under a no win no fee agreement and Mrs G received over £2,500 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Employment/Time Limits

Mr H was unfairly dismissed by his employer and engaged a solicitor to pursue his claim. Unfortunately the solicitor failed to file a claim at the Employment Tribunal within the three month time limit from the date on which Mr H’s contract was terminated. As a consequence Mr H lost the right to bring a claim in Employment Tribunal against his employer. We agreed to act for Mr H under a no win no fee agreement to pursue a claim against the Solicitors and Mr H received over £8,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Employment/Missed Time Limit/ Damages for Loss of Chance/Loss of Opportunity

Mr and Mrs C ran a Residential Home and had dismissed one of their care workers, Ms E, for gross misconduct, the evidence confirming that she had acted in an abusive way towards residents/patients. Ms E issued proceedings for Unfair Dismissal in the Employment Tribunal against Mr and Mrs C and they instructed a Solicitor to represent them in the proceedings. Mr and Mrs C gave all of their evidence and information to their Solicitor in time but when the Solicitor filed their Response at the Employment Tribunal, he missed out some of the pages. The Tribunal directed that the full Response be provided by a set date otherwise it would not be accepted but the direction was not complied with. As a result Mr and Mrs C were not permitted to oppose the case for Unfair Dismissal. Mr and Mrs C’s Solicitor applied for relief from the sanction but insisted that his application be dealt with under the Civil Procedure Rules and not the Employment Tribunal Rules. When this was rejected the Trainee Solicitor sent to make the application felt compelled to withdraw and the Tribunal dismissed the application and proceeded to find for Ms E and awarded her substantial compensation payable by Mr and Mrs C. We were instructed to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the previous Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement. The Solicitors argued that there was no defence to Ms E’s claim because the initial disciplinary procedure had been unfair and the conduct of the case by them had therefore not affected the outcome. We were able to show that there had been a good chance that the defence would have reduced any liability to Ms E as any defects in the disciplinary procedure had been perfected in an internal appeal process and that as a result of the strength of the evidence as to Ms E’s conduct there had also been a good chance that Ms E would not have been awarded any compensation as her dismissal was inevitable. There was also a lost opportunity to argue that any compensation would have been reduced to nil or to a small amount as a result of Ms E’s conduct. We successfully recovered significant damages for Mr and Mrs C plus our costs.

Estates and Trusts Solicitors Claims

Trust Deed/ Failure to prepare on time/Delay

Mr and Mrs B wished to help their daughter and partner in the purchase of a property. They intended to provide a substantial Capital sum on the basis that they would have an interest in the property. The Solicitors handling the purchase advised Mr and Mrs B to consult another firm for independent advice about the preparation of a Trust Deed. Mr and Mrs B instructed a separate firm to prepare a Trust Deed and provided them with the information and instructions they required.  Unfortunately the Solicitors failed to take any action to prepare the Trust Deed in time for the property transaction even though they knew when Mr and Mrs B were paying over the funds to the conveyancing Solicitors. As a result the draft Deed of Trust was not produced until after completion of the transaction. The conveyancing Solicitors sent it to the daughter and her partner for signature but it never came back. The second Solicitors advised Mr and Mrs B to take action to recover their money but as this was never included in a Trust Deed they were advised to pursue it as a loan. The matter was complicated by the daughter and her partner falling out and a delay in selling the property. In the end Mr and Mrs B received back what they had put into the property some years afterwards but had received nothing in respect of the increase in value or alternatively interest on the monies whilst they were tied up in the property. Mr and Mrs B felt badly done by as properties had increased significantly in value yet they had received nothing for this and even if they had just lent the money they were thousands of pounds out of pocket in interest alone. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue the second Solicitors for professional negligence in their failure to prepare the Trust Deed in time and the lost chance in securing an investment return on the property when it was sold. The Solicitors denied liability but we successfully secured a settlement of significant damages for Mr and Mrs B, plus our costs.

Trust Deed/ Negligent drafting/Construction of Trust Deed/ Family/ Negligent advice/ Loss of chance of a better Ancillary Relief Order

Mr S sought advice about a Will and a property he had inherited and which he intended to live in as his home. Mr S was concerned about his wife’s propensity to spend and also the possibility of problems occurring should they be divorced in the future. The Solicitors advised Mr S to have a Trust Deed through which he could protect the property from his wife and also retain the right to keep it for himself. Mr S then discussed the option of providing for his children and the Solicitors suggested making the Trust Deed in their favour. The intention of Mr S was at all times to retain the right to call for the property back again although he was warned that such a Deed might not be effective in keeping the property out of the hands of his wife. The Trust Deed was completed making the children as beneficiaries and Mr S’s sister as the Trustee. The Deed contained some curious wording as to Mr S’s right to direct a transfer of the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries, which could not benefit him, as he was not defined as one of the beneficiaries. The Solicitors advised Mr S that they would not register or disclose the Trust Deed and his sister ought to make a Will of the property back to him in case she died before him. This advice flew in the face of a valid Trust Deed. Unfortunately Mr S was divorced by his wife some years later and she sought the inclusion of the property as a matrimonial asset. Although this was resisted at first the Solicitors subsequently advised Mr S that the property was likely to be held to be a matrimonial asset and he should concede the point. As a result the case proceeded through to a final Hearing with the property included even though it did not belong to Mr S. At the hearing he was warned by his Barrister that he had no right to use or sell the property without consent and that he should seek an adjournment whilst this was resolved. Mr S however relied upon the advice of his Solicitors that it was right to include the property and that under this Trust he had the right to determine what happened. The final Order made in the matrimonial proceedings assumed that Mr S had assets and a home to live in and the ability to raise money against the capital of the house. He was ordered to pay his wife a substantial lump sum even though in reality he had no such monies. Thereafter the Trustee could not re-transfer the property without the consent of the children who objected. The wife challenged the Trust Deed as an attempt to frustrate her claims but the Court refused to set it aside. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue the Solicitors for professional negligence in their failure to prepare the Trust Deed in accordance with Mr S’s instructions, leaving him with no rights to his own home and property and/or for their failure in the matrimonial proceedings to dispute the inclusion of the property on the basis that it was subject to a valid Trust in favour of the children of the family. If the Deed had been prepared properly Mr S would not have lost the property but would probably have had to pay the lump sum and if the property had been excluded from the matrimonial assets because of a valid Trust, Mr S would not have had the property at all but would have avoided liability for the lump sum and had lost the chance of securing a better matrimonial Order altogether.  The Solicitors denied liability and causation of any loss. Proceedings were necessary and the case proceeded almost to Trial at which point the case was successfully settled with the payment of substantial damages for Mr S, plus our costs.

Family Solicitors Claims

Family/Preservation of assets/Injunctions/Loss of chance

Mrs J was represented in divorce and financial proceedings ancillary thereto and suffered losses due to their breach of duty. Mr J had left the matrimonial home and transferred substantial funds from the joint account. The total money and assets taken by him were approximately £80,000. In the ensuing correspondence between Solicitors Mr J suggested that a valuable endowment policy in his sole name had no value. It became clear that Mr J had acquired a new property in Plymouth with the proceeds taken from the parties joint account and had put it in the joint names of himself and his new partner. In addition he had purchased a property in Cyprus with her.

The Solicitors established details of the property in Plymouth and the surrender value for the policy and knew it was due to mature shortly for £22,000.  However despite the obvious risks of further assets and/or monies being dissipated and/or transferred out of the Courts jurisdiction, no steps were taken to preserve the assets and monies to enable the Court to utilise the funds and assets in this country. Mr J managed to surrender the policy and sell the Plymouth property before the Solicitors got round to taking any action and their eventual application for a freezing injunction was made too late after the funds had already gone.

The case proceeded to a final Hearing when Orders were made in Mr J’s absence for him to make a lump sum payment and to pay maintenance and the substantial costs incurred. Mr J failed to pay anything. The Solicitors assisted Mrs J take enforcement action in Cyprus and in response Mr J sold the Cyprus property and offered a fraction of the monies due in full and final settlement of the lump sum and the maintenance and the costs, however she was advised to accept this as all that she would recover. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the previous Solicitors, for the lost chance of preserving the assets and monies in this country and the lost opportunity to receive all of her entitlement under the Court’s Orders. We successfully negotiated a substantial sum in damages in settlement of Mrs J’s claim from the Solicitors plus our costs.

Family/Effect of remarriage on financial claims/Delay/Failure to follow instructions

Mrs W was separated from her Husband and he petitioned for Divorce on the grounds of 2 years Separation with Consent. Mrs W instructed Solicitors to represent her and to negotiate in respect of her financial claims. The Solicitors were aware that Mrs W intended to remarry but took no steps to protect her position within the divorce to preserve her financial claims. Her husband was making monthly payments but after the Divorce had been granted he offered a substantial lump sum plus a further lump sum payable over 3 years in full and final settlement. This was confirmed in a letter from his Solicitors. The Decree Absolute of Divorce was granted and although the Solicitors warned Mrs W that she would need it if she remarried they failed to point out the effect of remarriage upon her financial claims. In the event Mrs W instructed her Solicitors to accept the offer and they issued her with a final Bill for their work. One month after telling the Solicitors to accept the offer Mrs W remarried. Mrs W then received a letter from her ex-husband informing her that the settlement had not concluded and due to her remarriage he now had no financial responsibility towards her whatsoever and his offer was withdrawn. Mr W agreed nevertheless to continue making voluntary monthly payments. When Mrs W tried to find out what had happened she found that her Solicitors had simply not acted on her instructions to accept the offer and had not done so by the time of her remarriage and the withdrawal of the offer. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue a claim in professional negligence against the previous Solicitors, for the loss caused by failing to conclude the financial settlement. The Solicitors argued that they had not caused any loss and that Mrs W had been responsible for her own loss by going ahead with a remarriage without seeking any advice and without checking first that the settlement had concluded. In correspondence with her ex-husband from prior to the Solicitors instructions she was aware that her financial claims would cease if she remarried. The Solicitors also argued that Mrs W was still in receipt of substantial monthly payments and if they continued there could be no loss. We pursued Court proceedings against the Solicitors and successfully argued that the Solicitors had been negligent in respect of the lack of advice about the effect of remarriage and the failure to accept the offer and that a loss had occurred despite the monthly payments as they were entirely voluntary and could cease at any point. We negotiated a substantial sum in damages in settlement of Mrs W’s claim from the Solicitors plus our costs.

Family/Non Molestation Injunctions/Retainer/Missed Limitation Date/Time Barred/Negligence of Successive Solicitors

Mrs T was in need of matrimonial advice as she had been subjected to abuse and intimidation and felt constantly threatened by her husband. Mrs T consulted Solicitors who wrote warning letters to the Husband, threatening an application for a non-molestation injunction. Unfortunately this went on for a long period and action was never taken. In desperation Mrs T felt obliged to move out of the matrimonial home in London and felt so threatened that she moved to Leeds with virtually nothing in terms of belongings.  As a result she found it difficult to deal with the subsequent matrimonial proceedings in London and received very little from the matrimonial assets. Mrs T was dissatisfied with the service provided by her Solicitors and instructed a second firm to pursue them for professional negligence. Although the second firm did intimate a claim in negligence to the first firm they did not obtain Legal Aid to pursue the case and effectively did nothing to the point that Mrs T complained to the Law Society. At this point the files of both firms were sent to the Law Society and it was claimed they had been lost there and no papers could now be found. In the meantime the time limit (Limitation Date) against the first Solicitors had passed and Mrs T could no longer pursue her Solicitors Negligence case. Although the files were still missing we agreed to take on Mrs T’s case on a no win no fee agreement to pursue the second Solicitors for negligence in losing the chance of pursuing the first Solicitor for their negligent handling of the matrimonial case.

The second Solicitors denied that they were responsible on grounds that they were never formally retained by the Mrs T, they had no duty of care, there was time for Mrs T to have progressed the matter herself once she had ceased to instruct them. They also alleged that the first Solicitor would not have been able to obtain an Injunction and the Solicitors caused none of the losses. We did not agree with these arguments and continued to pursue the matter. At this stage the Second Solicitors suddenly ‘found’ the files, which consisted of several lever arch files containing many pages. A detailed analysis of the files supported Mrs T’s claims.

As a result we successfully negotiated a substantial settlement in damages for Mrs T from the Second Solicitors and they also paid our costs.

Family/Preservation of Assets/ Freezing Injunctions/Retainers/Foreign law

Mrs N was living in this country but her husband lived abroad and left Mrs N to manage everything at home. This included several properties, which were rented out. The properties were in the husband’s sole name. Mrs N instructed Solicitors and specifically warned them of the risk that her husband would seek to dissipate their assets. The Solicitors advised Mrs N that they would register cautions against the properties but they were advised by the Land Registry that a caution could not be registered unless proceedings in respect of the properties had commenced and as a result they advised her to start the matrimonial financial proceedings and make claims in respect of the properties. Mrs N instructed them to proceed but they started the proceedings but did nothing to secure the properties. In the meantime Mr N was actively working to dissipate the assets and sold several properties and transferred the funds to the USA before the Solicitors did anything. When the Solicitors realised that some action had been taken by the husband they applied for a freezing injunction, but it was too late as the transactions had already taken place. The Solicitors then refused to carry out further work unless the substantial bills for the injunction application were paid and commenced proceedings against her when she could not pay. We were instructed at this point and agreed to assist Mrs N defend the claim. We also agreed to pursue a Counterclaim against the Solicitors for Professional Negligence. We advised Mrs N to continue with the matrimonial case and to obtain the best Order she could against her husband. Mr N refused to take part and Mrs N was awarded a lump sum of approximately £235,000. However, the costs and risks of enforcing the award in the USA were considerable.  We pursued the Counterclaim against the Solicitors but this was complicated by the uncertainty of recovery of the award against the Husband. The Solicitors were also denying negligence and had produced various vital copy letters in which they had asked Mrs N to say whether they were to protect the assets and in default they would do nothing. Luckily for Mrs T she had retained the original letters which on examination did not contain the paragraphs of advice relied upon! The proceedings were stayed for negotiations, the parties agreed for us to obtain advice from a legal expert in USA (paid for by the Solicitors) as to various crucial issues, should enforcement action be taken there. When the advice was received further negotiations resulted in a settlement involving the payment of a substantial sum in damages to Mrs T and further monies should they be recovered under the Order, plus our costs.

Trust Deed/ Negligent drafting/Construction of Trust Deed/ Family/ Negligent advice/ Loss of chance of a better Ancillary Relief Order

Mr S sought advice about a Will and a property he had inherited and which he intended to live in as his home. Mr S was concerned about his wife’s propensity to spend and also the possibility of problems occurring should they be divorced in the future. The Solicitors advised Mr S to have a Trust Deed through which he could protect the property from his wife and also retain the right to keep it for himself. Mr S then discussed the option of providing for his children and the Solicitors suggested making the Trust Deed in their favour. The intention of Mr S was at all times to retain the right to call for the property back again although he was warned that such a Deed might not be effective in keeping the property out of the hands of his wife. The Trust Deed was completed making the children as beneficiaries and Mr S’s sister as the Trustee. The Deed contained some curious wording as to Mr S’s right to direct a transfer of the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries, which could not benefit him, as he was not defined as one of the beneficiaries. The Solicitors advised Mr S that they would not register or disclose the Trust Deed and his sister ought to make a Will of the property back to him in case she died before him. This advice flew in the face of a valid Trust Deed. Unfortunately Mr S was divorced by his wife some years later and she sought the inclusion of the property as a matrimonial asset. Although this was resisted at first the Solicitors subsequently advised Mr S that the property was likely to be held to be a matrimonial asset and he should concede the point. As a result the case proceeded through to a final Hearing with the property included even though it did not belong to Mr S. At the hearing he was warned by his Barrister that he had no right to use or sell the property without consent and that he should seek an adjournment whilst this was resolved. Mr S however relied upon the advice of his Solicitors that it was right to include the property and that under this Trust he had the right to determine what happened. The final Order made in the matrimonial proceedings assumed that Mr S had assets and a home to live in and the ability to raise money against the capital of the house. He was ordered to pay his wife a substantial lump sum even though in reality he had no such monies. Thereafter the Trustee could not re-transfer the property without the consent of the children who objected. The wife challenged the Trust Deed as an attempt to frustrate her claims but the Court refused to set it aside. We were instructed under a no win no fee agreement to pursue the Solicitors for professional negligence in their failure to prepare the Trust Deed in accordance with Mr S’s instructions, leaving him with no rights to his own home and property and/or for their failure in the matrimonial proceedings to dispute the inclusion of the property on the basis that it was subject to a valid Trust in favour of the children of the family. If the Deed had been prepared properly Mr S would not have lost the property but would probably have had to pay the lump sum and if the property had been excluded from the matrimonial assets because of a valid Trust, Mr S would not have had the property at all but would have avoided liability for the lump sum and had lost the chance of securing a better matrimonial Order altogether.  The Solicitors denied liability and causation of any loss. Proceedings were necessary and the case proceeded almost to Trial at which point the case was successfully settled with the payment of substantial damages for Mr S, plus our costs.

Barrister/Family/Matrimonial/Failure to obtain Evidence

We were instructed by Mr F under a no win no fee agreement in professional negligence proceedings against his Solicitors and Barrister for failing to obtain and use a proper valuation of his Pension and for advising Mr F to settle the matrimonial ancillary financial proceedings on the basis of an illustration document showing projections, assuming many years of service beyond the date of settlement. The Pension illustration had been so large that it dwarfed the other matrimonial assets and most adjustments to assets and liabilities in Mr F’s favour had been set off against the fictitious Pension figure. The Solicitors and Barrister had used the wrong valuation to settle the case and this was then used in the Consent Order and Pension Annex. We successfully pursued an application within the matrimonial proceedings for the Order to be set aside and replaced with a new Order, reflecting the correct valuation. The net result was that even though the Consent Order could be changed to reflect the proper valuation it could not be changed to undo the set off adjustments, which would have been made differently had the correct valuation been used originally. The Solicitor and Barrister each denied the claim and disputed any losses and blamed each other. We brought proceedings against both Defendants and we successfully recovered substantial damages for Mr F for the lost set off adjustments and the costs of the further matrimonial proceedings plus our costs in the professional negligence proceedings.

Personal Injury Solicitors Claims

Personal Injury/Offers Advice

Mr F was injured in a road traffic accident when making a right hand turn and being struck by a motorcycle that was overtaking the line of traffic behind Mr F. The solicitor he employed to bring a claim on his behalf failed to correctly advise Mr F about a 50-50 liability offer made by the motorcyclist’s insurer and the case proceeded to trial where Mr F lost and was awarded no damages for his injuries. The circumstances of the accident meant that the 50-50 offer was very reasonable and should have been accepted. If Mr F had been correctly advised about the offer and his chances of success at Trial he would have accepted the 50-50 offer and received 50% of the value of his injury claim by agreement between the parties.

We agreed to act for Mr F under a no win no fee agreement and succeeded in recovering over £20,000 compensation against his former solicitor in addition to which our costs were paid.

Personal Injury Defence/Part 36 Advice/Offers Advice

Mr W was a landlord who was sued by a tenant for personal injuries caused by another tenant who was staying in the same block of flats. Mr W engaged a solicitor who failed to advise Mr W correctly about the merits of the injury claim and the commercial need to try and settle the claim at an early stage to avoid having to pay higher costs at trial.

As a result of the solicitor’s advice the tenant’s very modest offer to settle her claim of just a few thousand pounds was not accepted and no valid offer was made on behalf of Mr W in return. The opportunity to settle the claim at an early stage with very low costs was missed.

 

The case proceeded to trial and Mr W was ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to the tenant in addition to which he paid substantial sums for both side’s legal costs as a consequence of defending the claim.

We agreed to act for Mr W under a no win no fee agreement and Mr W received £50,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Personal Injury/State Benefits/Personal Injury Trusts

Mrs B suffered significant illness and losses, caused by contracting food poisoning on holiday and was part of a group of people who sued her Travel Company for compensation. The Solicitors obtained compensation for her and sent this to her without any advice about Personal Injury Trusts, despite the fact that she was in receipt of State Benefits. The compensation brought Mrs B over the capital limits for State Benefits but she did not realise that the compensation would be taken into account. When the true capital position was discovered by the authorities Mrs B was investigated for fraud and although her innocent excuse was accepted, she had to pay back benefits which she should not have received and could not claim benefits again until her capital was under the statutory limits. Had the Solicitors advised her about Personal Injury Trusts she could have put the compensation into the Trust within the first year and this would have avoided the compensation being taken into account for benefit purposes and she would have continued to receive her usual State Benefits.

We agreed to act for Mrs B under a no win no fee agreement and Mrs B received compensation from the Solicitors in addition to which our costs were paid.

Personal Injury/Employment/Compromise agreements/Failure to obtain Evidence/Failure to serve a valid claim.

Mrs B was quite seriously injured during the course of her employment as a Bus driver, attempting to defend the day’s takings from a thief. The Employer dismissed her from employment and she sought advice from her Union about her position. Despite the serious impact on Mrs B’s life and financial position the Union failed to advise her to put in an employment claim within the 3 month time limit. The Union negotiated a settlement with the Employer for a small sum of money and they arranged for her to see a Solicitor to advise her on the compromise agreement. The Solicitor failed to advise her about the possible effect of the compromise agreement on her personal injury claim. After the compromise agreement was signed she instructed new Solicitors to pursue the personal injury claim and the Employer claimed that she had given up these rights in the compromise agreement. The new Solicitors said that they would sue the employer and the previous Solicitor for negligence but they ended up doing neither, as they issued proceedings against the Employer but they were subsequently struck out by the Court. The Solicitors had not obtained medical evidence in time and instead of serving the proceedings without the report they obtained an extension of time for service of the proceedings to enable them to complete this. Unfortunately this was a fatal error as any extension of time can be challenged by the Defendant when they are served and as there were no good reasons for the delay in getting the medical evidence or not serving without the medical report, the extension was set aside. As this meant the papers had not been served within the time permitted by the Rules the case was struck out. To make matters worse the Solicitors said that they would sort things out but allowed the Employer to get a default judgement against Mrs B for the costs of the case and enforcement action had started against her before the Solicitors paid the costs.  We were instructed after Mrs B had been turned down by other firms. We pursued a case in negligence against both firms of Solicitors under a conditional fee agreement (no win no fee ) and recovered substantial damages and costs against both firms.

Personal Injury/Insolvency/Part 36 offers/Failure to obtain Evidence

Mr J sustained personal injuries in a road traffic accident and instructed Solicitors to pursue a personal injuries claim on his behalf. At the time Mr J was bankrupt and the Solicitors failed to seek an assignment of the right of action from the Trustee in Bankruptcy. Although the Defendant did not take this point the Trustee in Bankruptcy claimed part of Mr J’s damages, which could have been avoided or at least reduced had it been dealt with correctly at an early stage.  We negotiated with the Trustee’s Solicitors and reached agreement as to the amount payable to him. This was not Mr J’s only problem because the Solicitors had put forward a large loss of earnings claim however their own medical evidence suggested that there had been an underlying back condition which was not caused by the accident and they ought to have realised that the claim for loss of earnings might be much more limited if the back condition would have stopped Mr J from working in any event. The Defendant made a Part 36 offer of £100,000, which the Solicitors failed to appreciate was a good offer if the loss of earnings was more limited. When the Solicitors finally asked their medical expert the right question and he attributed the inability to work to the underlying back condition the Solicitors, simply passed a copy onto Mr J without comment. The case inevitably then proceeded to exchange of expert reports, with the Defendant expert saying the same thing and a joint report with the same conclusion. The Defendant successfully obtained the Court’s permission to reduce its offer, which Mr J then had to accept out of time and pay his own costs and the other side’s costs from the date of expiry of the original offer.  We agreed to pursue the Solicitors under a no win no fee agreement and successfully obtained compensation for the reduced damages and costs and the deductions from his damages for costs and the Trustee in Bankruptcy’s claim, plus our costs.

Personal Injury/Vibration White Finger (VWF)/Failure to Claim All Heads of Damage/Under-settlement

Mr T was pursuing a claim for VWF against British Coal after working as a miner for many years. As part of the claim Mr T was entitled to damages for services. This was a claim for damages to compensate Mr T for having to pay in the future for someone to do the everyday DIY and jobs around the home which he did himself before his VWF made it impossible to work with his hands. Unfortunately, his solicitors failed to pursue this part of the claim and Mr T was not fully compensated. We agreed to act for Mr T under a no win no fee agreement in the claim against the Solicitors and he received over £10,000 compensation and our costs were paid.

Personal Injury/Time barred/Limitation

Mr B was injured in the course of his employment as a result of his employer’s negligence. The solicitor he employed to bring a claim on his behalf failed to issue Court proceedings within the prescribed time limit and as a consequence Mr B could not continue with his claim and lost the chance of recovering compensation against his employer. The Solicitors maintained that the original case had no value and would never have proceeded anyway. They also claimed that they were not under a duty to issue proceedings or advise Mr B about the time limit because he did not instruct them to proceed with the claim. The file however showed that the Solicitors had appeared to overlook the case rather than decide that it was not worthy of being pursued and although there was no on-going communication between the Solicitors and Mr B they had not done anything which was consistent with their retainer having come to an end. We agreed to act for Mr B under a no win no fee agreement in a negligence claim against the Solicitors and succeeded in recovering over £100,000 compensation against his former solicitor in addition to which our costs were paid.

Personal Injury/Under-Settlement

Mrs. F was injured in a Road Traffic accident and instructed a national firm of Solicitors to pursue her personal injury claim. Unfortunately Mrs. F did not fully recover from her injuries and she suffered from continuing symptoms caused by the accident. Whilst Mrs. F was still recovering her Solicitors received an offer to settle her injuries claim from the other driver’s Insurance Company. The Solicitor handling the matter took the view that the offer should be accepted and concluded a settlement of the injuries claim without obtaining Mrs. F’s instructions and without properly assessing the impact of her ongoing symptoms. When Mrs. F complained the Solicitors tried to pull out of the settlement but the Insurance Company refused to agree. We agreed to act for Mrs. F on a no win no fee agreement in a claim against the Solicitors for negligence in Under-Settling her personal injury claim and we successfully recovered the difference in the compensation she did receive, from the amount that she ought to have received, plus interest, plus our costs.

Personal Injury/Vibration White Finger (VWF)/Limitation/date of knowledge/Negligence of Successive Firms/Time Barred

Mr P instructed solicitors to pursue a claim against his former employer as he suffered from VWF after using vibrating power tools for many years. The solicitors unfortunately failed to issue Court proceedings.  He therefore instructed a second solicitor who also failed to issue proceedings. Both solicitors were relying upon the wrong date as to when Mr P had sufficient knowledge to bring proceedings. Mr P instructed a third firm of Solicitors who advised him that he was out of time against the employer and as Mr P was unable to claim damages against his employer that he should pursue a claim for professional negligence against the first and/or second solicitor who had missed the deadline for issuing proceedings. Again, unfortunately for Mr P the third solicitor failed to issue Court proceedings against the first and/or second solicitor within the timescale required (which depended upon the correct date of knowledge in the case against the Employer)  and his right to bring a claim against the first and/or second solicitor was lost. We agreed to represent Mr P under a no win no fee agreement against the third solicitor who argued that the claim against the first and/or second solicitor had no merit or value because the claim against the Employer was already out of time when they were instructed. We successfully recovered £14,000 compensation for Mr P from the third Solicitors, in addition to which our costs were paid.

Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence/Defective Service of Court Proceedings

Mr M suffered an injury to his Achilles tendons whilst in prison. He was given inadequate treatment by the medical staff and as a consequence did not make a full recovery from the injury. Solicitors were instructed to represent Mr M in his claim for compensation. Unfortunately the solicitors only attempted to serve the proceedings at the end of the maximum period allowed for service and then failed to serve on the Treasury Solicitor as they were required to do by law. As a consequence Mr M could not proceed with his claim as the time within which proceedings had to be served for a valid claim had expired. We agreed to act on behalf of Mr M under a no win no fee agreement against his former solicitor and recovered £5,000 in compensation for him in addition to our costs.

Putting things right - legal work caused by Lawyers Negligence

Commercial/Landlord and Tenant

Mr M had instructed Solicitors to prepare a Lease for a new Tenant but it was not ready in time and after the Tenant moved in there was a dispute about the terms of the Tenancy and the rent payable, as the Lease had never been signed. Unfortunately some time after this was all resolved in Mr M’s favour, the Tenant stopped paying the rent and the Solicitors advised him to send the Bailiffs in. After some but not all rent was recovered, on the Solicitors advice, he forfeited the Lease and took possession. The Tenant brought proceedings for Unlawful eviction and claimed tens of thousands of pounds in damages in respect of his ‘lost business’. The same Solicitors acted for him in the Defence of these proceedings until they realised the conflict of interest and we were instructed to take over. Unfortunately Mr M had not had the right to terminate the Lease and throw the Tenant out because there was no written Lease. We helped him challenge the Tenant’s claim for damages and successfully had this reduced to a modest figure, based on a proper assessment of the evidence. We then helped Mr M recover substantial damages plus costs against the Solicitors.

Commercial/Landlord and Tenant

Mr C instructed us to take over some proceedings brought against him by an ex-Tenant. There had been no right of re-entry or forfeiture in the Lease because a tenancy for a dwelling had been used for a business. Mr C had brought pressure to bear on the Tenant for non-payment of rent and the Tenant had made plans to leave the area and took steps to damage the premises. The Tenant however claimed that she had been ejected whereas Mr C maintained that she had left of her own accord. Mr C instructed Solicitors to defend the proceedings but they did not follow his instructions and failed to raise a proper Defence, admitting on his behalf that he had thrown the Tenant out. We took over the case and prepared a proper Defence, obtained evidence in support and then negotiated an acceptable compromise of the proceedings.

Administration of Estates/Probate/Disclosure and Accounts

Mr C instructed us about concerns over the administration of his mother’s Estate. He and his brother were the main beneficiaries but the Solicitors had been appointed as Executors and were in control of the Estate. When errors and delays had occurred it seemed that the Solicitors had not provided Mr C with all of the correct information and he became increasingly worried and suspicious when the Solicitors became defensive and reluctant to provide him with even basic information. We contacted the Solicitors and asked for proper explanations, accounts and documents in support. The Solicitors continued to maintain that Mr C was not entitled to any further documentation and we successfully applied to the Probate Court for an Order for a proper account with supporting documentation and for the Solicitors to pay our costs.

Estates/Wills/Companies/Rectification

Mr C died leaving a Will drawn by his previous Solicitors but the Will had ambiguities in the drafting, which made it unclear. We were asked to advise the Executors. The deceased had a Property letting business with many properties. At least one half of the business was run through a limited company, but the constitution of the company was not correct making it difficult to wind up the estate. We successfully helped the Executors apply to the Companies Court for rectification of the Register of Shareholders and to the Chancery Division of the High Court for rectification of the Will.

Family-Consent Orders

Mr F instructed us after he had discovered an error in a final Consent Order, which dealt with financial matters and affected his pension. The Solicitors and Barrister had used the wrong valuation for his pension and this was then used in the Consent order. Although we agreed to pursue the Solicitor and Barrister for professional negligence, Mr F had a good chance of having the Order changed, because it did not make sense. We successfully pursued an application within the matrimonial proceedings for the Order to be set aside and replaced with a new Order, before we recovered the consequential costs and losses in the professional negligence proceedings.

Costs Disputes/Claim Struck Out due Solicitors negligence/ order for Costs against Client

Mrs N had been pursuing professional negligence proceedings against her previous family Solicitors for negligent advice in respect of the financial settlement on her divorce. The solicitors handling her professional negligence claim against the Solicitors failed to file the correct documents at Court by the deadline set by the rules and failed to comply with an Unless Order for it to be done by a new date otherwise the claim would be struck out. As a result an Order striking out the claim and ordering Mrs N to pay the Defendant’s costs was made. Following this decision the Solicitors failed to inform Mrs N that the Defendant was claiming around £37,000 for costs and they also failed to respond to the Defendant’s Solicitors correspondence about those costs. As a result costs proceedings were commenced against Mrs N and served on her previous Solicitors who failed to inform Mrs N about them. As a result a Default Costs Certificate was issued against her for the full amount of these costs payable within 14 days and this was effectively a Judgement against her, which could be enforced through the High Court or through Bankruptcy proceedings. The Defendant’s Solicitors were not in the mood to wait for their money even though it was clear that the costs order had been caused by the Solicitors handling her professional negligence claim. As a result of the threat of immediate enforcement action we agreed to represent Mrs N in the costs proceedings on the basis that she would be responsible for our costs but we would seek to recover them as damages against the Solicitors which had negligently lost her professional negligence claim. We successfully applied to set aside the Default costs certificate, filed a defence in the costs proceedings and negotiated a reduced costs liability of around £27,000. We also persuaded the Insurers of the negligent Solicitors to pay these costs on time so that Mrs N was not pursued personally for these costs.

Completing on-going Civil Litigation

Mrs P had been involved in costly and drawn out proceedings with her neighbour in respect of their boundary. Proceedings in trespass had been brought against the neighbour and were won at Trial and Mrs P was able to demolish a wall built by her neighbour on her land and claim compensation for the costs of doing so and in making good with a new fence. Further proceedings were completed successfully in recovering the damages for these works and substantial costs had been paid by Mrs P, which the neighbour was responsible for but the claim for costs had not been vigorously pursued. In the meantime the neighbour sought to challenge the Judgement. He was refused permission to appeal but after a new fence had been erected and over 2 years after the judgement the neighbour started trespass proceedings against Mrs P and then applied for and obtained a clarification of the original Judgement, which changed the line of the boundary, making the new fence automatically a trespass against the neighbour. Mrs P’s solicitors failed to deal with these second trespass proceedings and the clarification application adequately, advising her not to appeal but to raise the matter at Trial for further clarification. The solicitors failed to advise Mrs P that she would lose at Trial and how to deal with this. The matter proceeded to Trial, which Mrs P lost and was ordered to move the fence and pay damages to be assessed in further proceedings and all of the costs. In the further proceedings the neighbour claimed substantial unsupported sums in damages and costs and Mrs P’s solicitors failed to advise her of the risks and costs involved. When Mrs P realised the position she was in she left her previous solicitors and asked us to help her defend the claim for damages, to defend the costs claim, pursue her costs claim and pursue the solicitors for any losses caused by their negligence. We took over the existing proceedings on the basis that she would be responsible for our costs but we would seek to recover them as damages in a negligence claim against the solicitors when the case was finalised. We advised her to make a generous but modest offer in respect of the damages as although the neighbour was unlikely to accept it the offer would protect her at Trial. The neighbour did not accept the offer and we helped defend the claim to Trial, the neighbour recovering only proportion of our offer. As a result Mrs P became liable for the neighbour’s costs only up to our offer and he was ordered to pay Mrs P’s costs from the offer up to and including the Trial. We successfully negotiated a settlement of the costs due to Mrs P for the original proceedings and the costs due to the neighbour for the second proceedings, however, further costly costs proceedings ensued as the neighbour would not agree the net costs due from him for the last set of proceedings. Once these final costs proceedings were finalised it was clear that Mrs P was substantially out of pocket and we successfully helped her pursue a professional negligence claim against the solicitors for her losses.

Failed Civil Litigation-alternative proceedings pursued

Mr L had bought a Lodge on a Park on the basis that it would be held on a long lease, however, the paperwork did not create a properly binding contract for an interest in land. When problems arose with regard to the planning permission at the Park and a dispute arose over paying for the services on the site, the Park owners cut off the services to the Lodge. Further, although a draft lease had been prepared for Mr L’s consideration and in fact many different drafts had been produced, no agreement had been reached in respect of the terms of any lease and the matter remained uncertain. Mr L had not used solicitors for the purchase but consulted solicitors about the dispute with the Park Owners. Mr L was advised to bring proceedings for breach of contract against the Park Owners and they defended the proceedings on the basis that the contract was not enforceable in respect of an interest in land. The Park Owners had been still willing to grant a lease on the terms of the drafts previously produced but unaware of any legal problems with his position Mr L insisted instead that the planning and services matters be resolved first. The matter went to Trial and Mr L lost and was ordered to pay his opponent’s costs. At this point Mr L had a Lodge resting on land belonging to the Park Home without any legal right for it to be there and even if the structure of the Lodge belonged to him there was no practical way of removing it from site. The total loss he was facing in the value of the Lodge could have been around £170,000. To make matters worse the original owners went bust and the site was sold to new owners by the Administrators. The new owners took possession of the Lodge and changed the locks. We were consulted and agreed to pursue a case for a legal interest in the land on the basis that Mr L would be responsible for our costs but we would seek to recover them as damages from the previous solicitors in a professional negligence claim, once the extent of his losses had been ascertained. We commenced proceedings against the new owners setting out a case on equitable grounds using a constructive trust argument. The claim was defended by the new Park Owners however the proceedings were successfully compromised at a Mediation settlement meeting whereby the terms of a lease were agreed in principle with each side bearing their own costs. We subsequently negotiated the detailed terms of the lease and completed and registered this on Mr L’s behalf before successfully recovering Mr L’s losses in a professional negligence claim against his previous solicitors.

Costs Disputes

Costs Disputes/ Termination of Solicitors Retainers/Liens/Provision of Account or Files

Mrs B had been involved in an Employment Claim against a Health Authority and had been awarded substantial damages. However, her Solicitors took most of her compensation for their costs, giving her a lump sum bill for about £780,000 and said that she still owed them about £80,000. When Mrs B asked for details and a proper breakdown the Solicitors told her it was too late because they had put through most of the Bills during the case and her right to object had elapsed after 12 months had passed. Mrs B was awarded most of her costs but wished to appeal the costs order and then recover her costs from the Health Authority. In desperation Mrs B terminated her retainer with the Solicitors and asked for the file to be transferred to another firm dealing with the Appeal. The Solicitors refused relying upon their lien over the files until their costs had been paid. Mrs B could not recover any of her costs from the Health Authority without her files and could have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds if the impasse had continued. We agreed to act for Mrs B in a case against her previous Solicitors and successfully obtained an Order for a new Final Bill, an Order for the return of tens of thousands of pounds and her files, a Detailed Assessment of the Final Bill, and her costs of the application. We then represented Mrs B in the assessment proceedings and successfully had the Final Bill reduced even further and a further repayment of tens of thousands of pounds and a substantial amount of interest and costs. Having obtained the files we also successfully recovered most of the costs of the Employment claim from the Health Authority in further Detailed Assessment proceedings in the Civil Court.

Costs Disputes/Claim Struck Out due Solicitors negligence/ order for Costs against Client

Mrs N had been pursuing professional negligence proceedings against her previous family Solicitors for negligent advice in respect of the financial settlement on her divorce. The solicitors handling her professional negligence claim against the Solicitors failed to file the correct documents at Court by the deadline set by the rules and failed to comply with an Unless Order for it to be done by a new date otherwise the claim would be struck out. As a result an Order striking out the claim and ordering Mrs N to pay the Defendant’s costs was made. Following this decision the Solicitors failed to inform Mrs N that the Defendant was claiming around £37,000 for costs and they also failed to respond to the Defendant’s Solicitors correspondence about those costs. As a result costs proceedings were commenced against Mrs N and served on her previous Solicitors who failed to inform Mrs N about them. As a result a Default Costs Certificate was issued against her for the full amount of these costs payable within 14 days and this was effectively a Judgement against her, which could be enforced through the High Court or through Bankruptcy proceedings. The Defendant’s Solicitors were not in the mood to wait for their money even though it was clear that the costs order had been caused by the Solicitors handling her professional negligence claim. As a result of the threat of immediate enforcement action we agreed to represent Mrs N in the costs proceedings on the basis that she would be responsible for our costs but we would seek to recover them as damages against the Solicitors which had negligently lost her professional negligence claim. We successfully applied to set aside the Default costs certificate, filed a defence in the costs proceedings and negotiated a reduced costs liability of around £27,000. We also persuaded the Insurers of the negligent Solicitors to pay these costs on time so that Mrs N was not pursued personally for these costs.

Costs Dispute

Mr J had been involved in proceedings relating to his father’s estate, which was complicated by issues relating to his former farming partnership with his father. Mr J was challenging a will, but failed at Trial and became responsible for his sisters’ costs plus his own costs with his previous firm. We helped Mr J defend the cost claims against him and negotiated a settlement of all claims by his sister following the Trial. Mr J’s former Solicitors commenced proceedings against him in respect of their costs and we helped him defend the proceedings on grounds relating to the advice and strategy employed by the Solicitors in the failed litigation, successfully negotiating a satisfactory reduction in the costs claims made against Mr J.

Costs Disputes/ Termination of Solicitors Retainers/Liens/Provision of Account or Files

Mrs B had been involved in an Employment Claim against a Health Authority and had been awarded substantial damages. However, her Solicitors took most of her compensation for their costs, giving her a lump sum bill for about £780,000 and said that she still owed them about £80,000. When Mrs B asked for details and a proper breakdown the Solicitors told her it was too late because they had put through most of the Bills during the case and her right to object had elapsed after 12 months had passed. Mrs B was awarded most of her costs but wished to appeal the costs order and then recover her costs from the Health Authority. In desperation Mrs B terminated her retainer with the Solicitors and asked for the file to be transferred to another firm dealing with the Appeal. The Solicitors refused relying upon their lien over the files until their costs had been paid. Mrs B could not recover any of her costs from the Health Authority without her files and could have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds if the impasse had continued. We agreed to act for Mrs B in a case against her previous Solicitors and successfully obtained an Order for a new Final Bill, an Order for the return of tens of thousands of pounds and her files, a Detailed Assessment of the Final Bill, and her costs of the application. We then represented Mrs B in the assessment proceedings and successfully had the Final Bill reduced even further and a further repayment of tens of thousands of pounds and a substantial amount of interest and costs. Having obtained the files we also successfully recovered most of the costs of the Employment claim from the Health Authority in further Detailed Assessment proceedings in the Civil Court.

Other Legal Work

Professional Negligence/Independent Financial Adviser

Mr & Mrs T were advised by their Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to make an investment of their money in a fund which the IFA said was a low to medium risk investment. As Mr & Mrs T were cautious investors this investment appeared to suit their risk profile and they accepted the advice and made the investment.

Shortly after the investment was made it became clear that the fund in which Mr & Mrs T was invested was considered to be a high risk investment and this knowledge was available to the IFA at the time he advised Mr & Mrs T that the investment was low to medium risk. Had Mr & Mrs T been advised correctly they would not have invested in the fund where they lost part of their investment and would have invested in a safer fund where they would have had a better chance of obtaining a return on their investment.

We agreed to act for Mr & Mrs T under a no win no fee agreement against the company who employed the IFA and Mr & Mrs T received over £20,000 compensation in addition to which our costs were paid.

Property/Fraud/Restoration of Company/Rectification of Land Register

Mr B and Mr N were business partners and apart from their joint business they acquired a valuable piece of land in the name of a company jointly owned by them. The partners fell out in a big way and the partnership ended in Court proceedings. Mr N disappeared to the USA and Mr B discovered that the valuable piece of land had been transferred out of the company name, through a transfer to a colleague of Mr N for a nominal payment and then on to a new owner. When he made enquiries Mr B found that the transfer had been done through solicitors, on the instructions of the company, acting by Mr N, but the final transferee was never registered and could not be traced. The name was believed to be an alias or made up name. The Police became involved but even after Mr N returned and was arrested no further action was taken, despite protests being made by Mr B. We were instructed some 11 years after the fraudulent Transfer when the company defrauded by the transfer had already been struck of the register of companies and did not exist. We obtained an Order in the Companies Court for the company to be restored to the register and successfully applied to the High Court Chancery Division for an Order setting aside the Transfer and for rectification of the Land Register and for Mr N to pay Mr B’s costs.

Partnership Disputes/Dissolution/Tax/Injunctions

Mr K and Mr J were partners in a hot food takeaway with Mr A, however the day- to- day operations were left in the hands of Mr A. During a tax investigation Mr A was allegedly seen by the tax investigators putting cash from sales aside, which led them to conclude that the profits of the business had been deliberately suppressed and the partners received a large VAT assessment based upon increased profits over several years, as projected by the taxman. Mr A disappeared after buying a motor vehicle for nearly £40,000 in cash and it was believed by Mr K and Mr J that these funds had been diverted by Mr A from the partnership business. We successfully applied on an urgent basis to the High Court for an injunction to restrain the disposal of the motor vehicle and although a third party had by then alleged an interest in the vehicle, we were able to negotiate a satisfactory recovery of funds for the partnership. We then assisted the partners challenge the VAT assessment within Tribunal proceedings and again concluded a satisfactory settlement of the liability on behalf of the partners. We also acted in the dissolution of the partnership and the sale of the partnership business under direction from the Court.

Property/Co-habitation/Co-Ownership/TOLATA/Constructive Trusts

Mr A had lived with his fiancée Ms B in a property purchased by them in her sole name due to his bad credit rating. The deposit was provided jointly but most of the purchase monies came from a mortgage necessarily in Ms B’s sole name. This was paid out of Ms B’s Bank account but that was funded by their joint salaries and was the account where they pooled their joint savings. The parties fell out and Ms B gave Mr A an ultimatum to move out. In order to provide a deposit for separate rented accommodation Ms B allowed Mr A to have some of their joint money, but only if he signed an agreement, there and then, to acknowledge that he would not make any claims to any further money. Mr A instructed other Solicitors but they were not successful in obtaining any redress and we were asked to take over. We made out Mr A’s clear case for an equitable interest in the property and that the ‘agreement’ was invalid or ineffective in respect of his interest in the property. After issuing Court proceedings to protect his position we successfully negotiated a satisfactory settlement for Mr A.

Property/Co-habitation/Co-Ownership/TOLATA/Constructive Trusts

Mr P had purchased a property for himself and when he sold that he put all of the proceeds of sale into a new property, where he lived with his girlfriend Ms R and her daughter. Mr P worked away from home and Ms R used to live with her family when Mr P was away. There had been problems with Ms R having affairs and he made it clear that he did not want to put the property into Ms R’s name. The parties fell out and Ms R moved everything belonging to her out of the property but subsequently asserted that she had a half interest in the property. We were instructed to help Mr P defend these claims and we made out his case that there was no evidence of an intention to own the property jointly even though they had intended to live together. Ms R issued Court proceedings and we helped Mr P defend them, when the Court dismissed the application and ordered her to pay Mr P’s costs.

Property/Local Search Errors/Public Rights of Way

Mr and Mrs G purchased a property in the country and were alarmed to be informed by the Council that there was a Public Right of Way, which travelled across their land and close to their Home. At first they believed that their Solicitors must have made an error when they carried out the searches for the purchase, but when we investigated this for them it became clear that the Solicitors had been provided with a clear search result by the Council, even though the Public Right of Way did appear on the definitive Map maintained by the Council. We helped Mr and Mrs G sue the Council for the reduction in value of their Property caused by the presence of the Right of Way and obtained substantial damages plus costs by way of a negotiated settlement.

Property/Compulsory Purchase/Compensation

Mr and Mrs K were reaching retirement and had found an ideal Cottage in the Country to rent on very favourable terms. Having established their home the Council asked them to leave because it intended to develop a Landfill site nearby and the environmental fall-out would make the Cottage uninhabitable. The Council offered Mr and Mrs K a small sum for disturbance but nothing to find alternative accommodation because they only rented the Cottage and the Council would be paying their Landlord for the loss of the property itself. We were asked to help. We successfully argued that the loss to Mr and Mrs K was far greater and negotiated a satisfactory settlement (plus our costs) from the Council, which enabled Mr and Mrs K to purchase another suitable property to live in.

Personal Injury

Claim Against Local Authority – failure to maintain hedge – fractured wrist

The hedge around Mrs C’s garden was maintained by the local authority. Unfortunately the hedge was not trimmed one summer and grew over the gate to Mrs C’s garden path. When Mrs C tried to open the gate it sprang back because of the over grown hedge and caused Mrs C to fall. She suffered a fractured wrist and broken rib. We agreed to represent Mrs C under a no win no fee agreement. We successfully argued that the local authority was in breach of its duty to maintain the hedge causing a risk of foreseeable harm and recovered £13,000 from the local authority insurer for Mrs C in addition to our costs.

Claim Against Employer – slip on wet floor after cleaning – no warning of wet floor – head injury

Mrs D had just finished her shift at work and was about to leave when she slipped on a wet floor and fell, striking her head and sustaining injury. We agreed to act for Mrs D in a claim against her employer under a no win no fee agreement. The employer argued Mrs D knew the floors were mopped at the same time every day. Mrs D maintained she was new to the job, did not know the cleaning routine and there no wet floor warning signs. She suffered for headaches for several months after the accident. We recovered over £5,000 for Mrs D as well as our costs.

Claim Against Landlord – slip after leak from frozen pipe – soft tissue injury to back

Miss P lived in flat and water pipes to the property had frozen and burst causing leaks in the building. The landlord failed to remedy the leak which overnight flooded Miss P’s bedroom floor. Miss P was unaware of the flooding and when she got out of bed she slipped on the wet floor and suffered a soft tissue injury to her back. We agreed to act for Miss P under a no win no fee agreement and argued that the landlord should have fixed the burst pipe and prevented the water flooding the flat. We recovered £2,000 for Miss P in addition to our costs from the landlord’s insurer.

Road Traffic Accident – claim by cyclist against car driver – soft tissue back injury

Mr E was cycling to work when a car driver struck him and caused him to fall from his cycle and sustain injury. The car driver did not stop and denied having any knowledge of the accident. We agreed to act for Mr E under a no win no fee agreement, traced the driver of the car and established by obtaining independent witness evidence that she did indeed cause the accident. We recovered over £5,000 for Mr E’s injury claim in addition to over £200 for the damage to his cycle in addition to our costs.

Road Traffic Accident – accident in car park – driverless vehicle – soft tissue neck and shoulder injury

Mrs G had just got in to her car in a supermarket car park when a driverless vehicle rolled down a slope, struck her car on the driver’s side and caused Mrs G injury when she was violently thrown from side to side. Mrs G had the benefit of legal expenses insurer but was unhappy with the representation provided by the solicitor nominated by her insurer. We agreed to take over the case for Mrs G and recover over £15,000 compensation for her in addition to our costs.

Road Traffic Accident – mud on road from construction site causing accident

Mrs S was driving around a roundabout when she lost control of her car, which skidded on mud left on the road by vehicles leaving a nearby construction site. She was unhappy with the representation provided by the solicitor appointed by her legal expenses insurer and asked us to take over the case. We agreed and successfully argued that the site owners had not taken sufficient steps to prevent mud accumulating on the road and had caused a foreseeable risk. We recovered over £2,000 for Mrs S in respect of her soft-tissue neck injury in addition to our costs.

Claim Against Local Authority – tripping accident raised paving slab

Mr F was walking to the local shop when he tripped over a raised paving slab, fell and fracture his wrist. We agreed to make a claim on his behalf against the local authority. They contended they had a statutory defence because they had a reasonable system of inspection and repair of the footpaths in the area. We obtained their inspection records and noted on the previous inspection the defect, which caused the accident, had been marked for immediate and urgent repair. They had failed to carry out the repair and agreed to compensate Mr F paying over £3,500 in damages in addition to our costs.

Claim Against Landlord – fall on stairs in house when banister came away from wall

A new banister was fitted in Mrs D’s house by her landlord as she was having difficulty managing the stairs. As she was climbing the stairs holding the banister the banister came away from the wall causing her to fall and injury her knee. We agreed to act for Mrs D under a no win no fee agreement and argued that the landlord had failed to fit the banister correctly. We recovered over £5,000 damages for Mrs D for her soft tissue knee injury in addition to our costs.

Road Traffic Accident – internal injuries after fall from moving car

Mr L was sitting on the outside of a friend’s car. The driver decided to drive off before Mr L had chance to step down from the door. As the car cornered Mr L fell, struck a kerb and suffered a serious internal injury. We agreed to act for Mr L under a no win no fee agreement against the driver. A defence was put forward that Mr L was to blame entirely for the accident because he had sat on the car door. We successfully argued on his behalf that the driver was under the greater duty of care and should not have driven away before Mr L had left the vehicle. Mr L was paid £25,000 compensation and we recovered our costs.

Claim Against Occupier – injury to foot – broken glass left on pub dance floor

Miss S suffered a laceration to her foot when she tripped over a broken glass, which was on a pub dance floor. We agreed to act for Miss S under a no win no fee agreement in a claim against the pub owner. We successfully argued there was no reasonable system of inspection and cleaning which meant the broken glass was left on the dance floor and posed a hazard to customer. Miss S was paid over £5,500 in damages and our costs were also paid.

Road Traffic Accident – pedestrian struck by car in car park – soft tissue neck and back injury

Mrs A saw her husband struck by a reversing car in a hotel car park. She went to the driver’s car door to ask the driver what she was playing at and the driver again moved the car such that Mrs A was pinned against a wall and injured. We agreed to act under a no win no fee agreement in a claim against the driver. It was argued on behalf of the driver that the accident was Mrs A’s own fault as she put herself in harms way. We successfully argued this was not the case and that the driver made a dangerous manoeuvre with no regard for the safety of Mrs A. Damages of £25,000 were paid to Mrs A in addition to which our costs were paid.

Claim Against Energy Company – dust blown in to house causing respiratory problems

A new gas main was being installed at the house of Mr and Mrs B. The sub-contractor employed by the energy supplier negligently blew compressed air in to the house to remove a blockage in the pipe. The compressed air should have been blown from the house outwards. As a consequence the inside of the house was covered in dust. We agreed to act for Mr and Mrs A under a no win no fee agreement in a claim against the Energy Company and subcontractor. We recovered £2,000 compensation each for Mr and Mrs A after they suffered from minor respiratory problems for a few weeks in addition to which we recovered over £7,000 to compensate for damage to their property. In addition our costs were paid.

Personal Injury/Rescuer

Mr F sustained a Psychiatric injury when he came to the scene of a serious Road Traffic accident and rushed to help the badly injured occupants. We successfully recovered significant compensation for Mr F plus our costs from the Insurers of one of the motor vehicles involved in the accident.

Personal Injury/Piercing/tattoo bar

The Parents of Master H, who had visited a Piercing/tattoo bar with his friends, consulted us. The Bar had carried out an ear piercing through the cartilage of the Master H’s Pinna, without his Parents consent. The ear developed an infection, which did not readily heal and after medical intervention left Master H with a deformed ear, which had a serious impact on his confidence and resulted in some name-calling at school. We successfully sued the Piercing/tattoo Bar Owner and recovered substantial compensation and costs on Master H’s behalf.

Personal Injury/Employer Liability/Work Accidents

Mr N was working for a demolition company and was injured whilst dismantling a building. Mr N was on the third floor of the structure when a cable snapped causing him to fall 40-45 feet over the edge and sustain serious injuries. We helped Mr N pursue a claim for compensation against his Employers and to recover substantial damages plus our costs.

Personal Injury/Historic Sexual Abuse of Adult

Mrs W suffered significant psychiatric illness as a result of sexual abuse by a Doctor from 20 years prior to our instructions. The Doctor had been tried in the Criminal Courts but although he had been convicted of abusing other patients the case of Mrs W was held not to have bee proven. There were no medical records of the treatment or appointments with this Doctor and no one else had been present when the abuse occurred. As is often the case no complaints had been made at the time due to the fear of not been believed and the Doctors assertions as to what would happen if she told anyone. We successfully sued the Health Authority and recovered substantial damages and costs on Mrs W’s behalf.

Personal Injury/Foreign Accident/Conflict of Laws/Limitation dates

Mrs B was injured in a road traffic accident in France. She instructed Solicitors and they failed to take any effective steps for more than 3 years, which would have been the time limit had the accident happened in the UK. Mrs B was worried that she had lost her right of action. We instructed lawyers in France to advise on the correct Limitation date in France and then successfully pursued a case against the Insurers of the UK car she had been travelling in, on the basis of the law of France determining the time limit and the law of England and Wales determining the measure of damages for the injuries and losses.

Personal Injury/Evidential problems

Mrs W was injured in a Road Traffic accident and instructed Solicitors to pursue compensation. Mrs W’s injuries and losses were difficult to quantify and expert evidence was required in different areas. The Solicitors failed to obtain Reports from experts for all of the injuries and losses and Mrs W was worried that she would lose out with her compensation claim. We took over the case and advised her on the correct evidence required and obtained further directions to enable the claim to proceed, before negotiating a good settlement of the claim on her behalf.

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I hired Matthew to deal with a very complex solicitors negligence case which took approximately three years to complete. He was extremely knowledgeable, showing excellent resolve in difficult circumstances, which concluded with a great result at the conclusion of the case. Previous to hiring Matthew I had employed 2 solicitors who could not support my case in the way that he did. The highest of recommendations from myself – a Senior Manager within a large business organisation. Mr. G, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
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