What is professional negligence?

Professional negligence occurs when a professional is negligent in performing their responsibilities to a required standard. This required standard is a level of service expected from a reasonable professional in that field.

While anyone can be accused of being negligent, professional negligence claims can only be brought against a person who can be considered an expert in their field. This includes people such as solicitors, surveyors, accountants and insurers amongst many others.

To bring a claim in professional negligence, you will need to satisfy all three of the following elements: 

  1. Duty of care: You entered into a contract (which does not necessarily need to be in writing) that meant you were owed a duty of care. A duty of care is a moral or legal obligation to ensure the safety or well-being of others.
  2. Breach of duty: The professional didn’t conduct a service to the best of their ability. Additionally, you may have a breach of duty claim if the professional’s assistance didn’t reach a reasonable level for someone in their position. 
  3. Loss suffered: You have suffered loss as a result of the professional’s negligent actions. The loss may be financial, health etc.

an architect being negligent by drawing up plans which dont comply with planning permission
Professional completing a contractual duty of care
One of our civil litigation solicitors working on a case