Avoiding negligence in litigation
Produced in partnership with Jemma Brimblecombe of Kingsley Napley
Avoiding negligence in litigation

The following Practice Compliance practice note Produced in partnership with Jemma Brimblecombe of Kingsley Napley provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Avoiding negligence in litigation
  • Issues around the scope of the retainer
  • Advice errors
  • Failure to advise on progress and keep objectives under review
  • Errors in practice and procedure
  • Settlement advice
  • Delay
  • Acting on counsel’s advice
  • Funding

Professional negligence claims against solicitors have become more common in recent years. This is due to a combination of factors, such as:

  1. an increasing reliance on professional advice

  2. the complexity of the work being carried out, and

  3. a raised awareness among clients of their legal right

When acting for clients a solicitor has a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill, and will be judged by the standard of a reasonably competent solicitor specialising in the area of law in which they practice and hold themselves out as having expertise in.

This Practice Note looks at some of the common ways in which negligence claims arise in solicitor/client relationships over the course of litigation matters and offers practical tips on how to minimise the risks of claims arising in the following areas:

  1. issues around the scope of the retainer

  2. advice errors

  3. failure to advise on progress and keep objectives under review

  4. errors in practice and procedure

  5. settlement advice

  6. delay

  7. acting on counsel’s advice, and

  8. funding

Issues around the scope of the retainer

The engagement (or client care letter) is a key document in negligence cases and play a pivotal role in determining the extent of the duty of care owed by the solicitor—see subtopic: Client care letters and TOB and Precedent: Client care letter 2019—law firms. See Gray v Buss Murton (A Firm) [1999] PNLR 882 (not reported

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