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Services / Disputes / Professional Negligence Case Studies

Conveyancing Solicitors failure to report correctly

This was a matter where conveyancing solicitors had erroneously reported that a property had title absolute when in fact it only had possessory title. When the clients then came to sell their property, their prospective buyers (whose solicitors noticed the above) pulled out.

This was a strange claim because the solicitors had (as they had to) acknowledged liability straight away and had offered to pay the legal costs thrown away in the proposed new sale. Prior to our involvement, they had also suggested that if our clients wanted to claim a loss of value to their property (by reason of the possessory title), they would have to obtain an expert’s report.

Upon our instruction, this is what we did. However, the response that came back sought to deride the valuation and go back on the admissions previously made. They would not be moved from their position. We therefore advise that proceedings be issued, at which point the defendant’s solicitors appeared interested in settling. They acquired their own expert evidence, albeit via a second expert.

Using Edwards Tubb v JD Wetherspoon Plc [2011], we informed our opponents that if we were to try and use the second report, they would need to disclose the draft report of their first expert. That led to offers being made which were rejected, one after the other, in view of the poor offers made regarding costs. We had to remind the defendant’s solicitors that had their client, and indeed they themselves, had treated the claim properly at the outset, our costs would have been a fraction of those being claimed. Eventually, they changed their mindset and made a significant offer with costs on top.

Mark Fitch acted for the client in this matter. Contact markfitch@hatchbrenner.co.uk

Poor handling of a case by previous Solicitors

The client had instructed a firm of solicitors in respect of a claim for injuries he had sustained in a road traffic accident. Their handling of his case had been of a poor standard particularly in meeting deadlines. Unfortunately missing one such deadline resulted in his case being struck out meaning his case failed and entitled the Defendant to claim their costs from him. We were instructed to bring a claim against those solicitors and a settlement was achieved which meant the Defendant was paid their costs and the client received a sum of money to compensate him for the loss of his claim.

Sara Westwood, formerly of Morgan Jones Pett, acted for the client in this matter. She can be contacted at sarawestwood@hatchbrenner.co.uk

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