Professional Negligence FAQ

Advice and Assistance from Cohen Cramer

Professional Negligence FAQS

Q)   Could my professional negligence claim be brought on a ‘no-win-no-fee’ basis?

A)   Yes, depending on whether your claim meets our risk assessment criteria during the initial review. The initial review itself will usually be carried out on a fixed fee basis, to which you will need to make payment on account prior to the review being carried out.

Please note however, that ‘no-win-no-fee’ funding arrangements refer only to our costs. Any disbursements that need to be made to third parties after we have entered the ‘no-win-no-fee’ arrangement, such as court fees, expert’s fees and Barrister’s fees will need to be paid for by you.

Q)   My claim is certain to be successful, why do you need to undertake an initial review before taking it on?

A)   There are a number of reasons why we need to carry out an initial review. Whilst we appreciate you will be fully aware of the background to your claim, it is necessary for us to be certain of the background to your claim, and as experts in this area we may pick up on certain points which you may not have considered, which may help advance your claim, or may be a weakness to your claim.

We have a duty to act in your best interests and if we advised on your matter without seeing the evidentiary documentation to support your claim, we would not be doing so. We are under a duty to point out the weaknesses of your claim as well as the strengths, taking in to account all the evidence available for you to make an informed decision on how to proceed with your claim.

Lastly, if you are looking for your claim to conducted on a no-win-no-fee basis, then we need to be certain that there are good prospects of success in bringing the claim because, if you are not successful, we won’t get paid.

Q)   How much does an initial review cost?

A)   This differs in each case and is dependent on the amount of documentation there is to review relevant to your claim. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to provide a fixed fee quote to carry out the initial review until we are in receipt of the documentation.

Q)   Why do I need to seek the opinion of Counsel?

A)   In certain cases, we may advise that the specialist opinion of a Barrister (Counsel) needs to be sought on certain legal points that arise from our review. This is usually because your case is of a complex nature and / or we need a second opinion on the prospects of success before offering a no-win-no-fee agreement.

Q)   Why do you need to obtain my files from the negligent professional?

A)   In nearly all negligence cases brought against a professional, it will be necessary to obtain their file of papers in respect of the matter they were dealing on your behalf, and which the negligent advice and / or action has been taken.

These files are crucial evidence to support your claim for negligence and therefore it is important they are obtained and reviewed carefully. Your case file will allow us to build up an overall picture of your case and how it was run. It will allow us to pinpoint the exact point in time in which the negligent advice was given and / or the negligent act happened. This is particularly important in checking whether you are still in time to bring a claim, which is generally speaking 6 years from the date the negligence happened or 3 years from the date you discovered the negligence.

Q) How can I request my files from my negligent solicitor?

A)   Whilst obtaining your file is usually a relatively straightforward process, and we can deal with the request on your behalf, if there are outstanding fees owing to your solicitor, they can hold what is known as a ‘lien’ over your files. This essentially means that they do not have to release your files until their fees are paid in full.