Trust is a very important thing when you’re dealing with matters of the law. Things can quickly get complicated, and most of us don’t have the skills and knowledge necessary to find a way forward. That’s why we hire experts to take care of legal matters on our behalf. We trust them to act in our best interests, and to meet a certain standard of competence?
But what if these legal professionals betray the trust we put in them? While it seems unthinkable, solicitors are only human, and they sometimes make mistakes, or act maliciously.
The Solicitor’s Responsibility toward their Client
It’s the solicitor’s job to act in the best interests of their client, and to deliver legal services competently, and to avoid conflicts of interest. In short, they need to take every reasonable step to do right by the client. On top of this, they should be courteous, honest and professional.
Who regulates solicitors?
In the UK, the body in charge of maintaining these standards is the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA). They set out an exhaustive code of conduct on their website. Solicitors who are deemed to have breached this code of conduct can be stripped of their right to practice. If you recognise that your solicitor has failed to meet these standards, then it might be that you can take legal action against them.
How long do I have to pursue a negligence claim?
Usually, you will have six years from the day you learned about the negligence. If you consult with a competent solicitor specialising in professional negligence claims, they will be able to provide you with advice that is suited to your circumstances.
What kinds of legal negligence are there?
Legal negligence occurs when a legal professional fails to provide you with the required standard of representation. It can come in many different forms.
There’s a lot of subjectivity in the world of law. But in some cases, things are fairly cut-and-dried. If your lawyer has given you advice which a competent lawyer would not, and you suffer harm as a result, then they might be judged negligent. In some cases, they might not provide you with any advice at all.
Failing to Comply with Court Order
If the court instructs you to do something via your lawyer, and your lawyer fails to act on that instruction, then you might suffer legal consequences.
Acting against your instructions
If you tell your solicitor to do something, and they fail to do it, then this could amount to negligence.
Under-settling a claim
If your lawyer agrees to a settlement that is well beyond the amount that you could feasibly expect, then they are not acting in your best interests, and could consequently be found negligent.