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Professional Negligence

Dispute Resolution for Businesses

Meet David Mallinson

Whether at a personal, business or professional level we all require advice from time to time from a professional service provider. This may include advice from solicitors, accountants and surveyors, perhaps advising you on a specific issue or undertaking a task or series of tasks to achieve a particular outcome.

In any situation where you are reliant on professional advice the professional is required to perform their services to the required standard and in accordance with their 'duty of care' to you as the customer. When occasionally, as they do, things go wrong and you incur financial loss as a result or the outcome you were expecting is not achieved this raises a question as to whether that advice or service has been provided 'negligently'.

When can I make a professional negligence claim?

A claim in professional negligence can be made against anyone who is considered to have 'expertise' in the services which they provide. For such a claim to be pursued successfully there needs to be evidence that the service or advice fell below the relevant professional standards and that this has caused either financial loss or some other form of damage to the client.

What are the likely consequences of a successful claim?

The consequence of the negligence or breach of duty will be different depending on the nature of the service being provided and the outcome which it was designed to achieve. Needless to say there are a wide range of both personal and business activities where the advice of professionals is often sought, whether in relation to buying and selling houses through a solicitor, specialist tax advice from an accountant or the design of a house extension by an architect or surveyor.

In the vast majority of cases professional advisers have insurance policies in place which are intended to cover the consequences of advice given or services provided negligently. This often means that an insurer will be receptive to a claim which clearly has 'merit' as they will want to avoid the significant additional legal costs which can be incurred in the pursuit of professional negligence claims where those claims are likely to succeed.

Will I need to go to court?

More often than not claims in professional negligence are resolved without the need to pursue a formal claim through the courts. Even in more challenging cases where there may be either legal or factual disputes as to whether advice or services have been provided negligently or genuine loss has been caused, it is important at an early stage to assess the strength of the claim and to collate any supporting evidence, including advice and reports from other suitably qualified professionals in order to substantiate the allegations which you are seeking to pursue and increase the prospects for an early settlement of the potential claim.

It is important that in any situation where you feel that you have been either substantially misled, poorly advised or have suffered financial loss as a result of your reliance on the advice of a professional that you seek early advice from a solicitor in order to gauge the strength of the potential claim which you may have. It is also important to consider from the outset of such a claim what evidence needs to be gathered in order to secure an early settlement of the issues where that is available.

We can provide immediate advice and assistance on potential claims in relation to accountants, architects, financial advisors, surveyors and solicitors. Please contact a member of our Dispute Resolution team. Girlings has offices in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay.

Our Experts

David Mallinson

Head of Department
Dispute Resolution

Nicola Webster

Senior Associate Solicitor
Dispute Resolution

Lee Quickenden

Associate (FCILEx)
Dispute Resolution

Rebecca Page

Debt Recovery Manager
Debt Recovery

Sophia Wright

Wills, Tax & Estate Administration; Dispute Resolution

Anna Ayling

Trainee Solicitor
Dispute Resolution

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