Professional Negligence

If you seek help from a professional adviser and it is subsequently found to be poor or inadequate, you may be entitled to recoup some of your financial losses due to their negligence.

Navigate to

A track record of getting optimum results

A professional negligence claim can be brought against any individual or business that has failed in their duty of care or has not met the required standards.

Our expert team of professional negligence lawyers are here to help you when things go wrong. Whether you need to take action against financial services and investment professionals, solicitors, accountants, or property professionals. We also deal with cases involving trusts and estates.

We will work closely with you to gather all the necessary evidence and advise on the most appropriate course of action. We pride ourselves in holding professional advisers to account. 

Our friendly, down-to-earth solicitors have significant experience in high-value and complex claims and while most cases of this type are settled out of court, we will not hesitate to litigate, when necessary, to get the best result for you.

Thanks to our holistic approach and our commitment to a full-service legal service, it means we provide smooth and seamless case management – and less stress for you.

Known for our pragmatic advice, our professional negligence team has a superb track record for getting the optimum results for our clients.

Law Firm Meeting Office (2)
Accent colour for edge of slider Accent colour for edge of slider

What is professional negligence?

A professional negligence claim can be brought against an individual or company that falls below the professional standards expected or breaches a duty of care.

If you suffer financial loss, injury or other damage, as a result of poor or inadequate advice, or if the professional has failed to provide a reasonable level of care, our team will work with you to assess the strength of your claim and will advise on the best course of action.

We understand the complexity and sensitivities of professional negligence cases and we will provide practical advice on how to resolve your case - from pre-action protocol up to court proceedings.

Bringing a claim for professional negligence

There are six steps to pursuing a professional negligence claim, which are outlined in the Professional negligence Pre-Action Protocol (PAP). The PAP sets out the code of good practice and standards that must be followed before any court proceedings can be taken. These are:

  • Preliminary notice - this sets out to the potential defendant that you may make a claim.
  • Letter of claim - this notifies the defendant you intend to begin legal proceedings.
  • Letter of acknowledgment - the defendant must acknowledge receipt of your letter of claim within 21 days of receipt.
  • Investigations - after the letter of acknowledgement is issued, the defendant has 90 days to investigate the claim and respond. All parties must supply all relevant information and documentation.
  • Letter of response - the defendant sends a letter of response to the claimant once their own investigations are completed. The written statement must address every claim or allegation in the letter of claim and will assess if the defendant agrees or disagrees with any/all the claims. All evidence must be included.
  • Letter of settlement - If the defendant wants to make an offer to settle the case a letter of settlement is sent with the letter of response, which details which claims they agree with and what compensation they are willing to pay.
  • Alternative dispute resolution - if the defendant disagrees with the claims made against them, it can go on to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which can include mediation and arbitration.

Only if this sixth stage of PAP is reached without the case being resolved can it go to court.

What are the grounds for professional negligence

Four elements must be proven for any successful professional negligence claim:

  • Duty of care - the professional who advised you must have owed you a duty of care by law.
  • Breach - the professional breached their duty of care due to their actions, such as poor advice or incompetence.
  • Loss - the breach meant you suffered a loss. This could be financial, or it could be to your health, injury or loss to your career.
  • Causation - the loss you suffered was a direct result of the professional’s breach.

"The firm is noted for its activity on contractual claims and fraud cases, with further expertise in director and shareholder disputes and breach of warranty issues."

Chambers and Partners

Claims against solicitors

Our professional negligence team is experienced in suing solicitors that have failed clients in their duty of care. This is more than about poor service or communication: it is about their actions that caused you a loss, such as failing to carry out a search during a house purchase; missing a court deadline; or providing incorrect legal advice.

Claims against financial professionals

You may be able to make a claim against your financial adviser if they failed in their responsibilities to you, which led to a direct financial loss.  This could be providing substandard financial advice that does not meet industry standards; providing unsuitable financial options, such as the wrong pension fund; or advice that leads to a large financial loss.

Claims against property professionals

When a property professional, such as a surveyor, conveyancer, valuer or an architect, fails in their professional duty, you may be able to bring a claim against them. Property negligence is governed by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, which sets out that the service provided will be completed with “reasonable skill and care”.

Time limits for professional negligence claims

There is a six-year time limit for bringing forward a professional negligence claim, from the date of the failure to meet the professional standards. This can be extended under certain circumstances. When a professional negligence claims results in a personal injury, the time limit is three years.

"Higgs has a well-organised and comprehensive litigation team. Their size and coverage of specialist litigation services makes them a top go-to practice for litigation in the West Midlands"

Legal 500

Funding a claim

There are a number of options open to you if you are bringing a professional negligence claim and many will reduce or remove the need for you to pay legal costs. These are the main options, but our friendly team will discuss which one would be more beneficial to you:

Hourly rates - our team charges per hour, which is the traditional charging model.

Fixed or capped fees - these provide certainty as you will know the maximum amount we will charge you. Fixed fees apply regardless of the time spent on your case, while a capped fee is an agreed sum that the charge will not go over. For either of these models, we will provide you with detailed scope of the work so you know what is included in the work.

Conditional fee agreements - sometimes called “no-win, no fee”, these mean you do not have to pay the full solicitor’s fee if your case is unsuccessful. If your case is successful, you must pay a “success fee” to the basic charges. These cannot be recovered from the other party and cannot be more than 100% of our fees.

Damages based agreements (DBAs) - these are not as common as other charging models, and mean fees are calculated based on a percentage of the damages recovered, which can be up to 50%. If this option is best for you, you will also have to pay disbursements, such as court fees and barristers fees, if necessary.

Before the event insurance or legal expenses insurance - we always look to see if you have any legal expenses insurance as part of your general policies, which will help to provide some or all legal expenses cover. This type of insurance can have a limit of indemnity and may not fund all of the litigation.

After the event insurance (ATE) - you may be able to gain some financial protection through an ATE insurance policy. This means once your case is concluded, any money you owe to the other party will be paid by the ATE insurance. If you win your case, you will pay the premium for your policy, which is taken from the settlement figure and the policy will also pay for any court orders. If you lose your case, your policy premium is waived and the policy pays the other party’s legal costs and will reimburse you for your legal costs.

Third party funders/loans - It may be possible to get a third-party funder to provide loans for your litigation costs.

Union or professional membership - some unions and professional organisations can provide funding for legal costs.

Why choose us as your professional negligence lawyers

As an award-winning full-service legal practice, we pride ourselves on providing a holistic service, using the expertise across our multi-disciplinary practice areas. Down to earth and practical, our lawyers are renowned for guiding clients clearly and methodically, providing bespoke advice to achieve the best outcomes.

 Our rankings in legal directories speak for themselves.

Law Firm Office (3)
Accent colour for edge of slider Accent colour for edge of slider