What is the time limit for bringing a claim against a solicitor?
The primary limitation period for professional negligence claims is 6 years from the date your cause of action arose.
When does the six year clock start running?
The six years in which you are expected to bring a claim for professional negligence, can be the date when you suffer actual loss, or the date the negligent act or omission was done by the solicitor.
These dates may be different and it is therefore not always straightforward to work out when the time period starts running.
Can the six year limit be extended?
You may also have only just become aware of the problem (for example if your conveyancing solicitor made a mistake, which only comes to light when you try and sell your house), and so there is a fall back limitation date of three years from the date on which you had the knowledge required to bring an action against the solicitor.
Again, this is not always easy to determine, but do not always assume you have no time to claim just because six years have passed.
The extensions to limitation periods for bringing claims against solicitors are however subject to a long stop date of fifteen years, within which your claim must be brought.
In some cases, it is possible to agree an extension of time to the limitation period with your opponent. This is usually done by the parties entering into a standstill agreement. In these types of agreement, the defendant agrees not to raise limitation as a defence, provided that the claim is brought within a certain period of time.
Do you think your solicitor has been negligent?
If you think that you have a negligence claim against a solicitor, it is important that you act sooner rather than later, as your claim may be dismissed if too much time has elapsed since the loss arose. Unfortunately this is a win or lose situation and you are either in time to make a claim, or you are not.
It is therefore important to consider limitation issues carefully and quickly, especially if you have any doubt as to the relevant dates.
Professional negligence claims can be complex and if you are close to the end of the limitation period, you will need a solicitor who is able to take the steps you need very quickly.
Samuels Solicitors LLP, based in North Devon, has a long-established reputation as niche experts in the field of professional negligence claims.
To speak to an expert solicitor, contact us today.