Professional Negligence: Claims against Insolvency Practioners & Lawyers

Our insolvency team is comprised of highly experienced solicitors and barristers with decades of experience in litigation, setting aside statutory demands, opposing winding up petitions, securing adjournments and obtaining validation orders.

Unlike many other specialist insolvency law firms, members of our team are experienced litigators with professional negligence experience and in particular when it comes to claims for negligent insolvency advice which can be from either an insolvency practitioner, solicitor or barrister. Given our winding up petition expertise, we are well placed to spot when mistakes have been made by an insolvency practitioner or when a insolvency lawyer has conducted your case without the due care and skill expected of a legal professional specialising in this area.

How do I start a professional negligence claim against an insolvency practioner or lawyer?

In order to commence a professional negligence claim before a Court in England & Wales you must issue a County Court or High Court claim form accompanied with Particulars of Claim setting out the details of the claim including the remedy sought from the errant insolvency practioner, solicitor or barrister. The issuance of the Claim Form must be done within strict time limits known as limitation periods and the relevant court fee must be paid (which is a percentage of the losses claimed up to a maximum of £10,000).

For a step-by-step guide on how to start a professional negligence claim for compensation click here.

What is the time limit for commencing a claim against an insolvency practioner?

Time limits and limitation periods are essential to adhere to in litigation. Missing a limitation period is fatal to the chances of success of any claim and will leave a claim statute-barred.

When it comes to ascertaining the limitation date for a particular claim, there are a number of factors to consider. In simple terms, the limitation period is six years from the accrual of the cause of action (section 2, Limitation Act 1980). However, if the six year time limit has passed but you have only just discovered the effect of any latent damage, then the limitation period may be extended to three years from the date of knowledge (section 14A, Limitation Act 1980).

If you have a complaint against an insolvency practitioner, solicitor or barrister, then our advice is that you take independent legal advice as soon as possible.

What is the basis for a professional negligence claim against an insolvency lawyer?

negligence claim for negligent insolvency advice must satisfy three basic requirements on the balance of probabilities otherwise it will fail:

(1) a duty of care must be owed by the professional; (2) the professional must have breached this duty; and (3) the breach of that duty must cause a loss.

If you have suffered a loss regardless of the insolvency adviser’s negligence or if the real cause of your loss was due to an extraneous factor outside of the responsibility of the professional then a claim could be reduced or extinguished.

Common examples of negligence by an insolvency practioner

An insolvency practitioner could be negligent for a variety of reasons, it is important to seek professional advice at the outset from our specialist team who can assess whether you have a claim for compensation:

  • failure to make reasonable enquiries regarding the historical dissipation of assets;
  • failure to realise the best price attainable for the assets;
  • failure to prosecute or pursue claims on behalf of the company in time and the limitation period to do so has since expired;
  • failure to apply property held by the company lawfully; and
  • failure to take into account all assets and liabilities when preparing financial status reports.

Can I challenge my insolvency solicitor’s bill?

In addition, unlike many other law firms, we have an experienced legal costs team, who specialise in challenging the reasonableness of bills/invoices rendered by your previous immigration solicitor. We find that in many professional negligence claims, clients are not happy with the service they have received and in tandem the price that they have paid for the sub-standard work completed.

If you consider that your bill (i.e. invoice) is overpriced for the work that you instructed to be done, our expert costs team can help you to understand the reasonableness of the bill(s) and if appropriate, challenge the bill in addition to any professional negligence claim.

Can I challenge my solicitor’s bill and start professional negligence proceedings at the same time?

This is a relatively contentious area. Challenging a bill is commenced in the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO), whereas commencing professional negligence proceedings (if the claim is for more than £100,000) is in the High Court.

One of the Court’s overriding objectives in the Civil Procedural Rules is to save time and expense. The Court generally do not condone claimants commencing parallel proceedings and if costs proceedings are commenced in the SCCO, and the pre-action protocol for professional negligence is ongoing, the SCCO will likely order a stay of the costs proceedings in order to enable the parties to comply with the pre-action protocol for professional negligence. However, this varies depending on the individual facts of a case.

Book an Initial Consultation

If you have a potential claim against a professional get in touch with our specialist insolvency professional negligence team so we can assess the legal merits of your case. We often take on such claims on a no win no fee basis once we have advised you on the merits of the proposed professional negligence action.

Our expert legal team of leading Professional Negligence Solicitors & Barristers are available to provide urgent help, advice or representation. Just call our London Professional Negligence Lawyers on   02071830529 or fill out our case assessment form.

Specialist Professional Negligence Solicitors

We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers operating from the only law firm based in the Middle Temple Inns of Court adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice. Our team have expertise in advising on claims for compensation against immigration professionals that have fallen below the standard expected, which causes clients financial or personal loss. We are experienced in bringing successful claims against all insolvency professionals such as insolvency practioners, auditors, solicitors and barristers.

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