Professional negligence occurs where a professional that you have employed fails to meet their responsibilities to the required standard, or if they breach their duty of care to you.

There are three key elements of professional negligence. Firstly, a duty of care between the parties involved. Secondly, a breach of the duty which results in a loss (i.e. financial loss). Thirdly, causation must be established, it must be the case that the reported breach was the cause of the loss.

Claims need to be brought within 6 years of the date of the loss. It is possible for timeframes to be extended however this is only available in exceptional circumstances. It is always recommended that you seek advice as early as possible if you believe you may have a claim in negligence.

For a claim to be made you must be able to establish that there was duty of care  between the parties involved in the dispute. A duty of care exists when there is a legally recognised responsibility from one party  towards another. In professional negligence cases this is often signified by a contract or an agreement of work to be completed.

In order to prove that professional negligence has occurred, you will need to provide evidence and witnesses that can be relied on in court should matters progress that far. Evidence would be required in relation to each element of negligence as referenced above, those being that there was a duty of care owed to you, there was a breach of that duty and that a loss was caused as a result.

This matter was raised in the case of White v Jones where consideration was awarded to the question of whether professional could be liable for negligence to another person where there was no direct contractual relationship or responsibility. It was determined that this was possible and a direct duty of care to the claimant was not required in certain circumstances.


A claim for compensation can only be pursued if you can provide evidence that you have suffered damage, most commonly a financial loss. Without proving that damage has been suffered, there will not be grounds to claim financial compensation.

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