Professional Negligence Case Studies

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  1. Client buys house and garden.  Agrees an Option to purchase an additional plot of land. But Solicitor fails to register Option with Land Registry and it is unenforceable.  Client recovers compensation from Solicitor for loss accrued to his property.
  2. Client takes Lease of a School and agrees with Lessor an Option to purchase the School in three years.  But Solicitor fails to register the Option and client cannot purchase.  Damages based on loss of value of client’s business enterprise (the School).
  3. Clients run a shop. Decide to Lease the property and business.  Their Solicitor fails to advise them that the Lease should include a rent review clause. As a result clients cannot increase the rent over 15 year period of Lease.  Solicitor sued for damages based upon forecasted increases in rent which could have been obtained, had there been a rent review clause.
  4. Client and partner purchase a property.  Use the partner’s Solicitor who fails to advise as to conflict of interest and different options for ownership.  Client suffers loss when partner becomes bankrupt.  Sues Solicitor and recovers her loss.
  1. Client involved in road traffic accident and sustains personal injuries and loss of earnings. Solicitor agrees to handle claim for compensation.  But Solicitor fails to commence proceedings within three year Limitation Period.  Client sues Solicitor for compensation claim which has been lost.  Damages assessed on a lost chance basis i.e. what were the prospects of the client recovering on the original claim and how much would have been recovered.
  2. Client’s house damaged by tree roots from adjoining property.  Solicitor 1 agrees to sue adjoining owner and commences proceedings.  Solicitor 1 fails to comply with various Court Orders and Action is ultimately struck out with the client being ordered to pay the costs of the adjoining owner.  Client goes to Solicitor 2 who agrees to pursue Solicitor 1 for what the client has lost (including the costs awarded against the client). Solicitor 2 misunderstands calculation of Limitation Period for the claim and fails to sue on time.  Client goes to Solicitor 3 who pursues claim for compensation against Solicitor 2 for losing client’s claim against Solicitor 1 (who then caused client to lose the Action against adjoining owner).
  3. Client believes she was abused whilst a child in a Local Authority home.  Difficult issues of Limitation (related to knowledge). But client goes to Solicitor 1 who commences an Action against Local Authority. There are serious evidential difficulties, due to the passage of time. But Solicitor 1 fails to gather evidence which was available and the Action is struck out.  The client goes to Solicitor 2 who fails to commence proceedings in time against Solicitor 1. Solicitor 3 deals with claim for compensation.
  4. Client has accident at work. Suffers personal injuries and loss of earnings. Solicitor advises client to settle claim at a figure which represents only the value of the personal injury claim. Solicitor has forgotten about the loss of earnings claim. Client Sues Solicitor for compensation which has been lost.
  5. Client instructs Solicitor 1 to draft Credit Hire Agreements. Solicitor 1 does so but the Agreements are defective.  Client goes to Solicitor 2 to sue Solicitor 1 for client’s losses on the Agreements (client cannot recover what he has loaned). Solicitor 2 advises client as to a settlement figure against Solicitor 1 and client accepts advice.  But Solicitor 2 has failed to appreciate that there was an additional category of loss relating to an additional type of Loan Agreement. The client goes to Solicitor 3 to sue Solicitor 2 for what client has lost by Solicitor 2 not obtaining sufficient compensation from Solicitor 1.  Then you can guess what happens next. Solicitor 3 commences proceedings against Solicitor 2 beyond the limitation period and the claim is struck out.  So Solicitor 4 deals with claim for compensation against Solicitor 3 for failing to sue Solicitor 2 who has failed to obtain sufficient compensation from Solicitor 1.
  1. Clients employment is terminated. He consults a Solicitor to deal with his claim for Unfair Dismissal and also tells the Solicitor that he wishes to pursue a personal injury claim because of the considerable stress and anxiety which he has suffered during his employment.  Solicitor deals with settlement of employment claim but agrees settlement terms which have the effect of excluding the client from a right to pursue the personal injury claim.  So client goes to second Solicitor to recover compensation from first Solicitor.  Compensation is geared to what were the client’s prospects of success in pursuing an personal injury claim against his employers and how much was likely to have been recovered.
  2. Client suffers from exposure to fumes during the course of his employment. Has to terminate employment.  Client consults Solicitor who agrees to pursue his personal injury claim and also his unfair dismissal claim arising from termination of the employment.  Solicitor fails to appreciate the limited time limit for the employment claim and fails to make application to the Employment Tribunal.  Solicitor settles the personal injury claim. Client then sues the Solicitor for lost opportunity on the employment claim.
  3. Client consults Solicitor after termination of his employment. Solicitor agrees to deal with his claim for unfair dismissal/discrimination. But Solicitor fails to submit application to Employment Tribunal in time.
  1. Financial Advisor gave Pensions advice to client. Client agreed to cash in his Pension Scheme at a price quoted by former employers. Financial Advisor took all necessary forms but failed to submit them to employers in time stated in documentation. Beyond that time, the employers are only prepared to pay a lower figure (due to decline in the stock market). Client sued Financial Advisor for what he had lost.
  2. Financial Advisor failed to understand time limits for submitting claim to Financial Ombudsman Service. Client lost right to an award (although his wife received one as her claim was in time). Client recovers what he has lost from Financial Advisor.
  1. Union agrees to handle member’s grievances against employers. He has left employment due to level of grievances. Union Representative fails to appreciate the date when employers finally reject the grievance as being the effective starting point for making application to Employment Tribunal. Application out of time.  Client sues Union for lost claim against employers.
  1. Architect for a new church building advised covering the roof with aluminium sheets. But aluminium expands and contracts in adverse weather conditions and the sheets eventually cracked.  Client sued Architect for loss. Damages difficult to identify because it is difficult to ascertain what alternative covering for the roof would be effective.
  2.  Architect designed restructuring of residential accommodation. But heating system was defective and will not turn off. Monastic Monks were very hot and obtained compensation as to the cost of the remedial works.
  1. Client wishes to purchase house. It is in an area where there has been known to be coalmining activity in the past. Valuer engaged to inspect property and advise on condition and value. The Valuer’s report is helpful and client agrees to purchase.  But Valuer has failed to notice serious subsidence to the property. Client sues Valuer for the reduction in value of the property because of the subsidence which the Valuer had failed to notice.
  2. Commercial lender makes short term loans for bridging finance.  Lender instructs Valuer to report upon value. Lender is geared to lending no more than 60% of full value.  The valuation is at £1m. The lender loans £600,000. The Valuer has been negligent on the basis of his valuation is incomprehensible. Property is only worth £500,000.  The borrower defaults on the loan. Lender repossesses but can only sell property for £450,000.  Lender sues Valuer for what lender has lost.
  1. Company Accountants fail to advise Directors clearly as to allocation of funds. Funds allocated to Directors Loan Accounts inappropriately and the Directors suffer personal loss as a result.  Claim for compensation pursued against Accountants.
  2. Accountants misinterpret client’s earnings and financial position. Accountants prepare incorrect Accounts and Returns to HMRC. Eventually HMRC realise the error and claim unpaid Tax together with penalties and interest.  Client seeks recovery of penalties and interest from the Accountants whose negligence has created the situation. Client also anxious to pursue a claim against the Accountants for Defamation of Character as the incorrect Accounts and Returns has lowered the client’s standing and reputation with HMRC.
  1. Client instructs Solicitor to prepare a Will leaving gifts to various friends and relatives. Solicitor is careless and omits some of the gifts from the Will. The disappointed beneficiaries sue the Solicitor for what they have lost.
  2. Two clients are living together but have no children. Each wishes to leave gifts to various friends and relatives and the remainder of the Estate to the survivor.  Solicitor draws the Wills leaving the various gifts to friends and relatives on a “free of Tax” basis. This has a serious impact upon what is left in the Estate for the survivor. Solicitors had failed to advise the clients as to the potential consequences of leaving numerous gifts “free of Tax”.  The survivor of the two clients sued the Solicitor for what has been lost by the diminished inheritance.
  1. School burned down. Insurers say it is under-Insured and apply average to reduce the claim effectively by half.  Broker says Insurers had always agreed to pay the first loss on any claim up to £5m. But Brokers have lost the evidence. Client sues Broker for what it could not recover from the Insurer.

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