Professional Negligence – Suing Solicitors

The general rule is that if your solicitor has acted in a negligent manner and you have suffered a loss as a result, you have six years to bring the case against your solicitor. That seems like a very long time but it is quite extraordinary the number of cases I have had where I have had to tell the client that their claim is statute barred.

That is particularly the position in cases where a client goes to the solicitor and brings the problem to the solicitor’s attention. The solicitor says leave it with me, I will sort that out – don’t worry about it. Time has now begun to run.

It is very surprising how quickly six years can pass and while it may be possible for a person to argue that they were misled by their solicitor into relying on the solicitor’s assurance that he would look after everything, it is extremely dangerous to do so.

The answer is not to immediately sue your solicitor as soon as there is a problem but if you have any concerns at all – get a second opinion.

It can be hard to locate a solicitor who is prepared to take on a case against another solicitor, particularly outside Dublin, but it is certainly not impossible and the Law Society will give anybody who asks, a list of solicitors who are prepared to take cases against other solicitors.

The critical thing here is don’t let the problem gnaw away at you. Don’t ignore it. Do something about it. While you have six years to sue, if you are claiming a breach of contract, you may have only two years to sue if you are claiming that you suffered a personal injury such as stress or depression or something of that nature as a result of the manner in which your case was handled by your solicitor.

The bottom line is if you have a problem with your solicitor, do not ignore it – deal with it.

Kevin Brophy

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