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Claiming professional negligence

19 January 2022 | Richard Gore

When we need to engage a professional to carry out work, such as a solicitor or financial advisor, we expect them to be experts in their field and for matters to progress without fault. However, we are all human and not all professionals get everything right all the time. Mistakes do happen, and therefore professionals have insurance policies in place to protect themselves against clients claiming professional negligence.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to bring a claim against a professional, it is useful to remember that there are three ingredients to a professional negligence claim which all need to be proved to succeed:

  1. Duty of care – the professional needs to owe you a duty of care. This is normally straightforward enough if you were the professional’s client, but it will be necessary to ensure that the professional’s instructions cover the work that you are complaining of as a starting point for assessing the merits of the position.
  2. Breach – the professional needs to have breached their duty of care to you. In simple terms, this means proving that the professional has done something wrong which they should have got right – the negligence in other words.
  3. Loss – the breach needs to have resulted in a loss. This last issue causes a lot of people problems. Just because a professional has done something wrong, does not mean that you have suffered loss because of it. The loss must be directly connected to the negligence, e.g., the negligence has caused the loss. If you would have suffered a loss regardless of the negligence, then no claim will exist.

The above is a brief summary of the main points which need to be considered prior to bringing a professional negligence claim but if you do not have those ingredients, your claim is unlikely to succeed. However, that does not prevent you from making a formal complaint or referring the matter to the professional’s regulator (if applicable), but it will make recovering financially much more difficult.

Specialist professional negligence legal advice

If you wish to discuss a potential professional negligence claim against a solicitor, accountant, surveyor, or any other professional then please contact our specialist team by calling 0117 906 9400 or email

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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