Professional Negligence

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  When you go to the time and expense of getting a survey carried out before you buy a property it's reasonable to expect that it will highlight any serious defects. However, surveyors are only human and mistakes do occur. What defects do surveyors miss? Among the serious defects that surveyors commonly miss are: subsidence damp leaking roof Japanese knotweed dry rot asbestos woodworm cracks Is it a defect that the surveyor should have highlighted? Before legal proceedings are contemplated you need to consider whether the defect...

When a legal action is struck out by a court for some procedural error or a failure to comply with a limitation date the blame invariably falls on the losing party’s solicitor. We are regularly consulted by people who have been the victim of a court decision that has effectively scuppered their legal claim. Experienced litigation lawyers know that court procedures have to be followed to the letter and are aware of the perils of leaving things to the last minute, when...

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has attracted widespread criticism concerning ground rent contracts at its new build properties. Although the housebuilder has reportedly set aside £130m to convert the controversial leases, property owners remain sceptical, claiming they will still be significantly out of pocket. The Taylor Wimpey ground rent scandal involves thousands of purchasers of the company’s new build properties who have acquired a 10 year doubling lease. These leases incorporate a ground rent clause which rises year on year to the point where...

Callers to our free legal helpline frequently ask us, 'can I sue my surveyor for negligence?' As this is one of our core areas of practice we are always willing to provide initial guidance on surveyors negligence claims and a free case assessment. However, for those interested in the law that governs this type of case here is a brief overview of the key principles. Any claimant will need to prove three things: that the surveyor owed them a duty of care; that the...

Is an architect negligent if their design cannot be built within the client’s  budget? This is the issue that the court had to consider in the case of Riva Properties Ltd & Others –v- Foster & Partners Ltd. It involved the renowned architects Foster & Partners who have designed a range of iconic buildings, such as London's Millennium Bridge. Mr Dhanoa commissioned Fosters to design a 5 star hotel. The build budget was around £70m.  However, Foster's design was costed at £195m. Mr Dhanoa had difficulty funding the project and concluded that...

Emma Slade, looks at solicitors negligence claims against lawyers who fail to give correct advice on legal costs Whenever an individual or company becomes involved in any sort of litigation, one of their main concerns is likely to be how much money it will cost them. Its never easy for a solicitor to give a definitive estimate of legal costs. Litigation is by its nature open ended. There are many variables in a case, making it difficult to predict which path a case is likely to take. And because...

Professional negligence lawyer, Emma Slade, looks at a recent court decision in which a firm of solicitors dealing with a property transaction were held liable for negligence and financial loss suffered by a party who was not their client. We often get enquiries to see if a potential client can sue another party’s solicitor for professional negligence. We have to turn those cases down as there isn’t a relationship between the caller and the solicitors they wish to sue. This is...

A professional negligence claim against a personal injury solicitor and barrister has been rejected by the High Court. The claim had been brought by an injured pedestrian who thought her compensation claim had been under-settled by her lawyers. The personal injury claim was settled for £12,000 shortly before trial. The claimant, who had suffered a serious head injury, believed that her claim had a much higher value. The claimant was advised to settle her claim by her solicitors and her barrister. The advice was...

Lee Dawkins, a Professional Negligence solicitor, looks at the worrying problem of Modern Ground Rent provisions under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and the legal redress available to unwitting purchasers faced with sky high rent increases. Slee Blackwell’s professional negligence department has recently been retained to deal with several professional negligence cases involving long leases of National Trust property in Devon that have been extended under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The 1967 Act contains a provision allowing landlords to charge an enhanced...

Solicitor’s delay in preparing a will is negligent says court Lee Dawkins, Slee Blackwell’s Taunton based Negligent Wills Specialist, reports on the recent case of Feltham –v- Bouskell in which a solicitor was found to be negligent for the delay in preparing a Will. The solicitor’s client, Hazel Charlton, was a woman in her 90’s. She had recently been admitted to a nursing home and was suffering from dementia. Hazel decided that she would like to leave a legacy to her step-granddaughter, Lorraine...