professional negligence

What Counts as a Case of Professional Negligence?

Professional negligence is an area of English law that deals with the actions of those who are considered to be involved in the ‘professions’ i.e. solicitors, barristers, conveyancers, architects, engineers, surveyors and valuers, accountants and insurance brokers. However, more broadly, it could be anyone who has described themselves as having better skills and abilities in a certain area than the average person does. The negligence aspect occurs when that person doesn’t perform their responsibilities to a standard that would be expected of another professional person i.e. someone else who has represented that they also have this elevated level of skills and abilities.

Professional negligence is a complex area of law and tends to differ on a case-by-case basis. However, it will commonly be applicable where a professional has provided advice that has turned out to be incorrect or where there have been errors during the delivery of a service. If someone has suffered loss as a result of those errors or problematic advice then the law on professional negligence is there to help make sure that those losses aren’t permanent and that the professionals in question are held to account for their actions. Below are some professional negligence examples.


  • Where a solicitor misses a deadline that means an individual is no longer eligible for compensation.
  • Where documents are lost or information is exposed or revealed that shouldn’t be.
  • Where advice is given that is so incorrect that it is not of the standard that is expected of a qualified solicitor.


  • Where a barrister has undervalued a claim.
  • Where a barrister provides an opinion on an issue of dispute between two parties that turns out to be incorrect advice.
  • Where court documents have been drafted incorrectly.
  • Where poor quality advocacy has been carried out during a trial.
  • Where there have been failures to correctly advise on the merits of the claim.


  • Failing to identify serious issues with a property.
  • Where a surveyor has not even visited the property in question.
  • Not making adequate enquiries to establish any potential defects with the property or picking up on basic issues such as woodworm, cracking and subsidence.
  • An inadequate or defective surveyors report.


  • Negligently failing to identify on going fraud by employees during the audit of business accounts.
  • Providing poor advice on taxation, whether for an individual or an entity, such as a partnership or a limited company.
  • Supplying negligent accounting advice in relation to any number of corporate transactions, such as corporate acquisitions, share valuations or property transactions.

Financial advisers

  • Where an investment risk was not properly explained to the adviser’s client so that an informed choice could not then be made about a particular product.
  • Acting for a client where there is a conflict of interest.
  • Where a financial adviser has only promoted the positive features of a financial product and not given equal weight to the negatives.

These are just a few of the ways in which professional negligence can arise. Other professionals who may also be the subject of a professional negligence claim include: vets, estate agents, architects, insurance brokers and tax consultants.

If you need help with a professional negligence claim, get in touch with Goodharts today for advice, on 0191 206 4103.

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