If you have been let down by a solicitor then you may be wondering what your options are when it comes to seeking redress. Are you entitled to a refund of any monies you have paid? Can you insist on further advice being given free of charge or on a service being performed again for no additional fee? Could you even be within your rights to demand the payment of compensation and reimbursement of any costs incurred in trying to make good the mistakes that have been made?
The answer to these questions will depend on what went wrong, how you have been affected and whether the issue can be classed as poor service best dealt with by making a complaint to the solicitor concerned or to the Legal Ombudsman scheme, or whether it is more serious than that and therefore justifies the making of a professional negligence claim.
In so far as the latter course of action is concerned, a professional negligence claim will generally be appropriate in any case where the way in which a legal matter has been handled is not the way in which it should have been handled by a reasonably competent solicitor and where, as a result of what has happened, you have incurred more than a minimal amount of financial loss.
At Step Legal Solicitors, we specialise in bringing negligence claims and have an impressive track record in achieving good result for those we act for.
How we can help
Our specialist team of lawyers can assist you in bringing a claim for solicitors negligence in any case where you have suffered financial loss as a result of a solicitor:
- failing to act in accordance with your instructions;
- providing you with legally inaccurate advice;
- directing you to follow an inappropriate course of action;
- neglecting to follow prescribed rules or procedures;
- failing to act within applicable time limits; or
- undervaluing the worth of a monetary legal claim.
Specifically, we can assist with claims arising out of conveyancing transactions, the making of a will or the administration of an estate, personal injury or medical negligence claims and other civil court proceedings, business transactions, employment law advice and divorce and family law matters.
We can help where a solicitor has failed to spot that part of a property being sold is not within the seller’s legal ownership, where they have omitted to tell a buyer about potentially onerous covenants or restrictions, where they have overlooked the need to pay off a mortgage or where they have failed to notify the Land Registry of a change in ownership. See our dedicated conveyancers negligence webpage for more details.
Making a will
We can help where a solicitor has failed to produce a will which reflects the instructions they were given, where there have been errors in drafting, where the choice of language used is confusing or ambiguous so that the terms of a will are unclear, where a negligent solicitor has failed to minimise inheritance tax despite being asked to do so, where they have agreed to make a will for someone who clearly lacked mental capacity or where they have failed to comply with the formalities needed to ensure that a will is valid.
Administering an estate
We can help where a solicitor has made mistakes in dealing with someone’s affairs after they have died, for example by not collecting in all of their assets or paying off all of their debts, by failing to correctly calculate and pay inheritance tax or by departing from the terms of the will without beneficiary consent.
Personal injury or medical negligence claims
We can help where a solicitor has failed to appreciate what a personal injury claim or medical negligence claim is worth and has therefore advised acceptance of a compensation sum which is far too low or where they have failed to issue court proceedings within the three year time limit that applies in personal injury or medical negligence cases and which means that a compensation claim can no longer be pursued.
Civil court claims
We can help where a solicitor has provided incorrect advice on the wisdom of pursuing or defending civil court proceedings or where they have failed to comply with relevant rules and procedures, or strict court deadlines, with the result that an ongoing claim is rejected or severely prejudiced.
We can help where a solicitor has failed to structure a business deal properly, leading to adverse tax consequences, or where they have failed to ensure that a business sale or share sale agreement contains appropriate warranties and indemnities.
We can help where a solicitor has given incorrect advice about the procedure to follow when dealing with an employee dispute, where they have provided inadequate representation before the Employment Tribunal or where they have made mistakes in the drafting of an employment contract, for example by omitting to include required restrictions as to confidentiality and post-employment competitive activities.
Divorce and family matters
We can help where a solicitor has undervalued matrimonial assets on divorce, leading to a poorer financial settlement than was rightly due, where they have failed to take account of pension sharing rights, where they have made mistakes in recording the terms of an agreed financial settlement or where they have provided incorrect advice on the best course of action when agreeing child custody arrangements.
To bring a professional negligence claim against a solicitor, you will usually need to commence court proceedings within six years of realising that negligent advice has been provided or that a service you have received was negligently performed. There are occasions where this period can be extended, but the rules around this are complex so it is important to seek advice as soon as you become aware that negligence may have occurred.
Prompt legal advice is also important to ensure that your solicitor has sufficient time to properly investigate your claim before the relevant limitation period expires, and in particular to request a copy of your matter file so that they can establish exactly what has happened and then:
- determine whether, on the facts, a negligence claim can be brought;
- assess the value of loss and therefore the amount of compensation that may be due;
- commission reports from experts where needed;
- present your findings to the solicitor’s insurance company;
- ask the insurer to confirm whether liability to meet your claim is accepted;
- explore possible grounds on which settlement of you claim might be achieved; and
- issue court proceedings before the relevant time limit expires where a settlement is not possible.
Why come to us?
As solicitors ourselves, we understand the rues by which all legal advisors must abide and the consequences that can arise when we get things wrong. Drawing on this insight, we are in the unique position of being able to give you a quick and honest appraisal of whether the service you have received justifies you making a claim for professional negligence compensation or whether it would be more appropriate for you to seek recourse through one of the alternative avenues available.
You can rest assured that when you come to see us, we will only agree to take on your case if we believe that you have got a good chance of bringing a successful claim and that we will immediately tell you if our view on the strength of your position changes at any stage as your case progresses.
You can also relax by knowing that the advice we give you will be clear and thoroughly explained and delivered in a way that you can understand and which, importantly, is free from unnecessary legal jargon.
Finally, to ensure that pursing a claim with us is affordable, we are happy to discuss a range of funding options with you, including no win, no fee and legal expenses insurance funding in appropriate cases.
To find out more please call us on 0800 195 6412 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com or pop into see us at our offices.
We serve the whole of England and Wales and in particular the counties of Cheshire and Staffordshire, including areas within close proximity to our headquarters in Crewe such as Nantwich, Northwich, Macclesfield, Sandbach, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
We can help with any type of professional negligence claim and in particular with:
- conveyancing solicitors negligence;
- property solicitors negligence;
- personal injury solicitors negligence;
- medical negligence solicitors negligence and
- commercial litigation solicitors negligence.