Procedural Errors Solicitors Professional Negligence Claims
If you have suffered the trauma of being involved in a claim or dispute and your Solicitor has negligently lost or damaged your claim or defence by failing to comply with the correct procedure you will not only have suffered a loss but will rightly feel badly let down.
It is important to realise in these circumstances that not all Solicitors are the same and that if you had a good enough claim or defence which was lost or damaged by a negligent Solicitor you should be able to recover the compensation you deserve, through a professional negligence claim against the Solicitor.
There are unfortunately many ways in which a claim or defence can be damaged or lost due to a Solicitor’s mistake and this risk has increased with the implementation of the Jackson Reforms in the Civil Justice system and the interpretation of the new rules by the Court of Appeal not least in the notorious Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited decision in November 2013 not to grant relief from sanctions to Mr Mitchell when his Solicitors failed to file their costs budget on time. Costs budgets are a new requirement under the post Jackson reforms. The effect of the decision is that if Mr Mitchell wins his libel claim he will not be able to recover any of his costs other than Court fees. There have been numerous examples of cases since November 2013 where the Courts have followed this robust approach to compliance with the rules, whereby save for trivial errors or those where there is a very good excuse, the individual litigant will suffer loss of or damage to their case (depending upon the sanction imposed by the rules or the Court) with the apparent object of achieving the greater good of the smooth running of the administration of justice.
In civil cases there is now the risk that the failure to comply with any rule or Order could result in the imposition of automatic sanctions or sanctions imposed after the event in respect of a breach. A Solicitor conducting a civil claim or defence for you is under a duty to advise you of the relevant rules and Orders and their effect on your case and of all steps necessary to comply with them. A Solicitor conducting litigation on your behalf would normally be expected to ensure that you comply with all rules and Orders and any timetable and deadlines set by the rules or the Court unless compliance cannot be achieved due to the failure of the client or any third party. However, in the latter event the Solicitor would still be under a duty to advise you as to what needed to be done to achieve compliance, by whom and when, what steps were necessary to comply within any deadline and if it became likely that the deadline could not be met of the need to apply for an extension of time before the deadline expired.
The failure to file a costs budget on time is now widely known as a serious error, which results in the loss of the chance to recover any costs other than Court fees from the other side in the case. If this was a loss that would not have occurred but for the Solicitors procedural error, there should be a good claim in professional negligence against the Solicitor. However, there are many other ways in which a case could now be lost or harmed as every step in a civil claim is set to a timetable controlled by the Court. Each stage of the case includes deadlines as to the production or disclosure of documents and expert evidence and witness statements and failure to comply on time could have serious consequences including the striking out of the case or the inability to rely on all or part of your expert or witness evidence. The Court can also impose Orders requiring you or your Solicitor to do things even within a short specified time and with a sanction imposed within the order so that if you fail to comply your case could be struck out or your evidence not allowed. If it is unlikely that you will be able to comply within any time period set by the rules or the Court your Solicitor ought to advise you to make an immediate application for an extension of time before the deadline expires and failure to do so would be negligent, even if the Solicitor was not responsible for your inability to comply with the original deadline.
If your case is struck out you are more likely to notice that a serious problem has occurred, however, non-compliance with a deadline for the service of expert or witness evidence will often result in the imposition of an automatic sanction that you can not rely upon the evidence served out of time. If this has occurred as a result of your Solicitor’s negligence it is likely that you will have a good claim in negligence against them for the harm caused to your case, which might be the difference between the outcome you did achieve and the outcome you might have achieved with all of your evidence, subject to a loss of chance discount.
In other types of claims including Employment Cases, other Tribunal proceedings and Family cases there are sometimes time limits within which certain procedural steps need to be taken and these too can have sanctions attached or subsequently imposed leading to the loss of or harm to your case. Unless Orders are a familiar feature of many types of claims, whereby the Court or Tribunal directs that unless a party complies with a direction or Order by a certain date their case will be struck out or some other sanction imposed. Further, when seeking an extension of time or relief from sanctions where the new Civil Procedure rules do not apply there is already evidence that the new robust approach in the post Jackson regime will be applied to interpretation of the rules of procedure of the Court or Tribunal determining the matter and Solicitors who fail to take timely action or advise their Clients to do so could be liable in negligence for any loss caused.
In all of these circumstances we are confident that we can help you obtain proper redress and compensation for your loss in a professional negligence claim against your Solicitor.
Although there are many different types of case where the claim could be lost or damaged as a result of your Solicitor making procedural errors the most usual types include:
|Failing to file a Costs Budget on time||Failing to file a Disclosure Report on time|
|Using the wrong form to file a Costs Budget||Failing to file a Disclosure Statement or List or provide inspection of documents on time|
|Failing to file the correct documents for a Hearing on time||Failing to serve expert evidence on time|
|Failure to file witness availability on time||Failing to serve witness statements on time|
|Failing to apply for an extension of time at all or in time||Failing to file Directions Questionnaires on time|
|Failing to comply with a specific Order or direction on time||Failing to file Listing Questionnaires on time|
|Failing to comply with an Unless Order||Failing to advise on the correct law or procedure|
|Causing breach of Orders, Rules or Directions leading to your case being damaged or struck out, or costs Orders being made against you||Delays leading to your case being damaged or struck out, or costs Orders being made against you|
|Failing to advise you to engage in alternative dispute resolution||Failing to file on time a witness statement explaining your refusal to engage in alternative dispute resolution|
|Failing to file a schedule or counter schedule of loss on time||Failing to apply for more time for your expert to comply with directions as to answering questions, meeting opponent’s expert and/or filing of joint statements|
|Failing to appeal on time or to apply promptly for an extension of time to appeal on time||Failing to apply to amend a Statement of Case promptly|
|Failing to apply to set aside judgement promptly||Failure to disclose changes in your expert’s opinion or apply for further directions on time|
|Failing to serve Particulars of Claim on time||Failing to make a prompt application for relief from sanctions|
|Opposing an application for relief from sanctions that was a clear case for relief||Applying to impose a sanction on the opponent where there was a clear case for relief|
|Failing to serve a Defence on time||Failing to apply for a split Trial or jury Trial on time|
|Failing to prepare and serve Trial Bundles on time||Failing to update the time estimate for a hearing or Trial promptly|
|Failing to serve or file evidence on time||Failing to discuss with the opponent or attempt to agree disclosure obligations and/or directions for the case on time|
As these claims are often complex it is important to choose a Solicitor with sufficient knowhow and experience in similar negligence claims against Solicitors to ensure that you receive the right help and guidance and to achieve the best outcome for your case.
Why Us ?
Firstly, we have dealt with these cases successfully before and know what we are doing. Secondly, in addition to our specialist knowledge and experience we always adopt a personal, friendly and caring approach and are committed to helping people like you. We always put your interests first in trying to achieve the best outcome for you.
It is important to use an experienced team when it comes to making any sort of claim against a Solicitor or other legal professional because these cases are often complex and difficult and the Solicitors and Lawyers’ Insurers will use many legal arguments to challenge your claim. This is particularly the case when the subject matter of the claim is a previous claim, defence or dispute. When a claim or defence is affected by a procedural error there are often difficult aspects to the case, which led the Solicitor to make a mistake. This gives the Solicitors’ Insurers the opportunity to argue that it was not their fault, or that even if there was negligence, your claim would not have succeeded or you would not have obtained the outcome, which you say was lost by the Solicitor.
Our team specialises in professional negligence claims against Solicitors and other lawyers, which means that whatever type of claim you need to make we can help. All of our current professional negligence cases are against Solicitors and other lawyers.
We have over 25 years experience in pursuing Solicitors negligence claims from all around England and Wales you can feel sure that our team of legal experts can help you get the compensation you deserve.
We have specific experience of pursuing very many successful claims against Solicitors where the Solicitor has lost or harmed the claim or defence as a result of their negligence, including many claims where the original claim or defence was lost or harmed by a procedural error caused by the Solicitors’ Negligence.
In addition to the expertise of our Solicitors we are able to rely upon the additional expertise of specialist Counsel and other experts appropriate for your case, from our contacts built up over many years. We have a lot of experience in complex cases, which means that whether your claim involves Solicitors, Barristers or other legal professionals your claim will be in safe hands.
When it comes to getting the legal advice and support you need we understand the cost is the last thing you want to worry about! We offer everyone a free assessment over the telephone or via email and will even give you advice there and then if we can! Moving on from that if your claim is good enough we’ll give you no win no fee funding – so you only pay solicitor fees if you make a successful claim and most of your costs can be recovered from the losing party!
What Next ?
With most legal matters It is better to take action sooner rather than later. We know that contacting a Solicitor can create anxiety itself, which is why you can contact us without obligation.
or contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll have a no obligation chat with you about what you need and what you hope to achieve. We’ll happily answer any questions or queries you have and give you advice on how to progress your matter.
You can be sure if you contact us that whatever you ask us to do for you will be handled professionally and efficiently, so you can get the best outcome possible without any of the hassle.