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Professional Negligence Claims in 2014

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As the year draws to a close Nicola Cutler looks back on the year’s key cases in Professional Negligence.

Professional negligence claims

Now that we are in the last weeks of the year Nicola cutler look backs on the key cases in the world of professional negligence over the last 12 months and provides a roundup of the action.  There have been significant decisions in professional negligence claims against accountants, solicitors, architects and insurers.

Accountant negligence

In March 2014 we saw a decision where the Court of Appeal decided not to hold the accountants responsible for failing to give specialist tax advice to a client domiciled outside of the UK. Failing to give advice that they were not expected to have knowledge of was not deemed negligent.

The decision came as a warning to clients seeking specialist and complex advice who will need to ensure that their accountant is properly qualified if they need out of the ordinary guidance. Read the full blog here

Personal injury solicitor negligence

Also in March, the court considered the limitation period for brining personal injury claims, and the circumstances in which the usual three year rule should be extended. It was not until after the limitation period had passed that the claimant was advised on a potential personal injury claim, in addition to the claims for the death of his daughter in a fire, having negligently been advised by his solicitor that he had no claim in his own right.

The court allowed the claimant to bring his claim as refusing to let him do so would be a significant prejudice. The key message to take away from this case is that you should seek a second opinion sooner rather than later if you are unhappy with your solicitor’s advice. Read the full blog here

Surveyor negligence

In July 2014 the courts considered whether a surveyor could be held personally liable for negligence where their firm, who would have protected the individual employee through their professional indemnity insurance, has gone bust.

The court agreed with a previous landmark case which held that where the surveyor has assumed personal responsibility for their professional services, they could be held liable if there is little chance of a successful claim against their former employer. However, the surveyor would not be personally liable if the court does not feel he or she has done enough to assume personal liability. It is therefore always important to check that the surveyor and their company have sufficient insurance before engaging them to do any work. Read the full blog here

Insurance broker negligence

More recently in October 2014, the Sugar Hut nightclub, famous for being the centre of the action in the hit reality TV show TOWIE, sued their insurance broker for misselling their buildings insurance policy back in 2010. The broker was held responsible for the nightclub’s losses following a fire after the insurers declined to pay out because of a technicality in the policy on which the nightclub’s owners said they had not been advised of.

Although the Sugar Hut’s bosses were successful on this occasion the case serves as an important reminder of the importance of ensuring that you properly understand the terms and conditions of any insurance so that you are more likely to know with confidence when you will be able to rely on it. Read the full blog here


The year has also seen more professional negligence claims relating to barristers, banks, equine advisers, industrial disease solicitors, matrimonial lawyers, mortgage and financial advisers.

If you think you have been misadvised by a professional and have suffered a loss as a result, contact the Professional Negligence Team for independent specialist advice.

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Senior Associate

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