Financial & Legal News

INSIGHT: Putting Professional Negligence in the Spotlight

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Most businesses have a positive experience when seeking the advice of a solicitor, with legal professionals able to offer expert guidance on a wide range of corporate issues. But what happens when the service is negligent and how can businesses spot the early warning signs? Christopher Burke, head of dispute and litigation at Pearson, explains.

As a solicitor, it is our duty and responsibility to provide a paramount service to help clients achieve a successful, speedy and cost-effective resolution for any dispute, whether it’s related to shareholders or partnerships, supply of goods and services, intellectual property, insolvency, defamation or debt recovery.

However, occasionally the service a solicitor provides is not up to scratch, which can result in missed deadlines, contract errors and even the failure of a business in extreme cases.

In the recent case of Fryatt vs Preston Mellor Harrison, the High Court found that the defendant firm of solicitors acted in breach of contract and negligently when advising a client on an option to buy the share capital in a company, as it failed to advise on the difference between this and the option to buy the company itself.

While the firm escaped liability, the case provides a warning to solicitors when being asked to advise on areas outside their expertise.

Needless to say, choosing the wrong solicitor can be can be costly so it’s equally important for businesses to research and check they have the necessary experience, expertise and advocacy skills.

Here are some quick steps for identifying the right solicitor to help you achieve a resolution.

  • Find them onlineSo much information is available online, which makes it very easy to find out more about relevant firms such as its services, experience and team. Take a good look at the website, or why not find the person you’ll be dealing with on LinkedIn to make sure their credentials are water tight?
  • Meet them in personIf possible, it’s always best to meet a solicitor in person as you can get a much better sense that they know their stuff. If you require their assistance for a particularly time-sensitive dispute, this is an ideal way of getting the wheels in motion.
  • Ask for a testimonialRegardless of whether your solicitor specialises in a certain area of law, they should be more than happy to provide a testimonial or case study to demonstrate how they’ve helped a similar business to achieve a resolution. Have a look on the website first.
  • No silly questionsThere are no silly questions when working with a solicitor. It’s completely understandable for you to seek reassurance throughout legal proceedings and your solicitor should have the acumen to advise you every step of the way.

If you have suffered financial loss as a result of poor service from your solicitor, you can seek a professional negligence claim. For more information, call Chris Burke on 0161 684 6941 or email christopher.burke@pearsonlegal.co.uk.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Christopher Burke

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