Professional negligence

What is professional negligence?

Broadly speaking, professional negligence occurs where a professional (such as an accountant, financial adviser, architect, barrister, solicitor, or surveyor, to name a few) fails to perform their responsibilities to the required standard and that failure results in their client suffering damage or loss. A claim in professional negligence can be based on both negligent acts and omissions.

By virtue of the services they offer and supply, “professionals” hold themselves out as knowing more about their area of expertise than the average person and as such, in simplistic terms, this means if you have received inadequate advice or improper conduct from a qualified, professional person and suffered financial loss as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for  professional negligence.

Professional negligence or just a complaint?

It is important to recognise the difference between a professional negligence claim and a complaint about the service provided by the professional. If the actions of the professional have led to a financial loss, for example a solicitor missing a limitation period, and the client then being unable to issue their claim in Court, then this would be a claim for professional negligence. However, if a client has just received poor service from a solicitor, but has not actually suffered a financial loss as a result of that poor service, then this would be a complaint.

Do I have a claim?

Professional negligence is a complex area of law and a number of requirements need to be satisfied in order for you (the claimant) to be able to bring a successful professional negligence claim. To bring a claim for compensation for professional negligence, you must show:

Duty of care

You will need to show that you have instructed a professional to carry out a particular task for you or to give you a particular piece of advice and that they owed you a duty of care to perform the job to a reasonable standard and with reasonable care. The most typical situation in which a duty of care would arise is where you have a contractual relationship with the professional, you have paid for the service provided or the advice given and you have relied upon them to carry out the job to a reasonable standard.

Breach of duty

The second question is whether the professional’s conduct fell below the standard that is reasonably required. The standard is objectively determined and is the standard expected of a reasonably competent professional of the same profession.


The third stage is to show that the breach of duty has directly caused the loss or damage suffered. This means that if you would have acted in the same way or suffered the same loss or damage in any event, notwithstanding the professional’s involvement, there can be no causation and no claim.


Finally, an action in professional negligence cannot be brought unless there is actual damage or loss suffered as a result of the alleged negligence. Types of loss that you might incur as a result of professional negligence include damage to property and financial loss.

Is there a time limit for bringing a claim?

There is a six year time limit for bringing a claim in professional negligence. When the six years have passed it still may be possible to bring a claim if the date when you first became aware of the circumstances that gave rise to a claim was a date within the last three years.

Why Beacon Law?

Professional Negligence litigation raises complex and specialist issues in relation to both liability and quantum (which means the amount your claim is worth). When making a claim for professional negligence, you must follow certain procedures (known as the Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence) or you risk incurring cost penalties or even having your case struck out completely. Compliance with the right procedure shows that there has been co-operation between you and the defendant professional in an attempt to settle the case without going to court.

When claiming for Professional Negligence, it is advisable to use the services of specialist solicitors as they can properly advise you on your prospects of success and the procedure you must take. Our specialist solicitors can help you with your professional negligence claim and we would therefore invite you to contact as on 08000 886644 or complete our contact form and we will call you back.

Please note, for information and enquiries regarding any type of medical negligence claim, please click here.