A role for adjudication in professional negligence claims?

31st January 2015 by


In 2013 the Jackson reforms were implemented across the UK legal system and they had a profound impact for some claimants wishing to seek compensation for professional negligence.

For example, whereas claimants had previously been able to rely on After The Event insurance and the right to recover their success fees from defendants, the reforms meant that they would have to pay increased upfront legal fees and would be unable to recover success fees.

This, inevitably, led to criticism that many deserving claimants – particularly those with relatively limited financial means – were being unfairly discouraged from seeking compensation for professional negligence.

Suggested remedies

Given the limits placed on access to justice by the 2013 reforms the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association sought to convince the government of the benefits of a ‘Qualified One Way Costs Shifting’ scheme to apply to lower value negligence claims; a scheme similar to the one that was already in place for low value personal injury claims, which had been found to help limit the number of genuine but unsuccessful claims being subjected to adverse costs orders.

Another idea proposed by the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association was to promote increased uptake in the number of negligence claims being subject to adjudication. With this in mind a consultation committee was set up. It had Sir Vivian Ramsey as its chair and representatives of the Association of British Insurers and the Professional Negligence Bar Association among its members.

Adjudication would by no means be a new idea. For example, many seeking compensation for professional negligence with Healys LLP’s solicitors have benefited from similar means of alternative dispute resolution. Furthermore, the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol (PNPAP) encourages a number or non-litigious methods for resolving disputes; however adjudication is not one of them.

There is precedent, however. construction-related professional negligence disputes benefit from a scheme for construction contracts that works in partnership with the Adjudication Society and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Claims for professional negligence with Healys LLP

If a construction professional, engineer, architect, quantity surveyor or other professional has caused you to suffer personal injury or financial loss you may wish to begin to a claim for compensation.

Here at Healys LLP we help our clients negotiate Pre-Action Protocols to their best advantage and, where necessary, will litigate a case to the best possible conclusion.

The professional negligence partners in our London and Brighton offices offer clear, helpful advice and provide transparency on costs. If you would like to contact us, use one of the contact options listed on the left-hand side of this page.