Pre-action protocol for professional negligence claims
Produced in partnership with Steven O'Sullivan
Pre-action protocol for professional negligence claims

The following Dispute Resolution practice note Produced in partnership with Steven O'Sullivan provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pre-action protocol for professional negligence claims
  • When does the pre-action protocol for professional negligence claims apply?
  • What is a professional negligence claim?
  • Professional Negligence Pre-action Protocol—history and aims
  • Professional negligence claims pre-action—consequences of breaching the Protocol
  • Professional negligence claims pre-action—limitation and the Protocol
  • Professional negligence claims pre-action—shorter trials scheme

The Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence claims was amended with effect from 6 April 2015 (with a further amendment effective 30 April 2018 in relation to adjudication). This Practice Note sets out the position according to the protocol now in force.

When does the pre-action protocol for professional negligence claims apply?

This Practice Note summarises the general role of the Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence (the 'Protocol’) in bringing/defending claims for negligence or other breach of duty/contract against a professional.

Its scope is set out in para 1.

Note: it specifically excludes from its ambit the following claims:

  1. medical negligence claims in respect of which the Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes applies

  2. construction and engineering negligence disputes which are covered by the Pre-Action Protocol for the Construction and Engineering Disputes

There is no definition of ‘professional’ in the Protocol. In essence, it is someone who professes a special skill and, as a result, is duty bound to practice that skill in a proper manner. See Practice Note: Who can bring a professional negligence claim and against whom?

Where the claim is against a person who has allegedly made a mistake causing non-injury related loss in his or her working life, it would be sensible to utilise the Protocol regardless of whether that person should comfortably be described as a ‘professional’. This is envisaged by para 1.2 of

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