Usually it is only the successful negligence claims against solicitors that manage to make news headlines, but this week a tragic case at the Court of Appeal, which involved two parents’ claim against a firm of clinical negligence solicitors, managed to generate headlines despite the pair losing out in their bid for compensation.
The solicitor professional negligence claim had its origins in the 1998 birth of a girl born with a rare medical condition at Liverpool Women’s Hospital; this was despite scans and tests indicating no sign of abnormality.
The parents had sought legal advice from a firm of solicitors, but had been left “extremely surprised and disappointed” on being told that they had no hope of proving the liability of the relevant NHS Trust. Furthermore, they were told that if they decided to instruct another firm to handle the claim they would face a “very big risk” that they would have to pay the NHSLA’s legal costs.
It was only much later, and after they had been divorced, that the parents were informed by another solicitor firm that they had received bad advice and as such should proceed with a negligence claim against the solicitor firm they had first contacted.
Now, Lord Justice Jackson, sitting at the Court of Appeal has ruled that the firm acted reasonably and appropriately. “It is frequently the duty of lawyers to give unwelcome advice to their clients. If they conclude that a claim or a defence has no real prospect of success, it is their duty to say so bluntly,” said Jackson.
If you would like help in ascertaining whether you simply received “unwelcome advice” or in fact have valid grounds for a claim against solicitors, click here for more from Healys LLP professional negligence lawyers.