FAQs

How do I know if I have a professional negligence claim?

Essentially, three things will need to be established:

1) that the professional whom you instructed owed you a duty of care;

2) that a breach of the duty of care was causative of loss; and

3) that quantifiable losses have been suffered as a result.

DJS Law Solicitors can assist you in establishing the prospects of success of bringing a claim.

 

How is a professional negligence claim started?

Initially, there is a process called the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol that has to be complied with.  Under the Protocol a detailed letter is written (called a “Letter of Claim”) to the negligent professional (or their professional indemnity insurers) that sets out the background facts; why breach of duty is causative of any losses (if necessary supported by expert evidence) with the amount of compensation required.

The other side must acknowledge the Letter of Claim within 21 days and then have three months to provide a Letter of Response.  The Protocol is usually effective at bringing claims to settlement, although where claims are not settled within the Protocol, the use of an Independent Mediator and/or the pitching of a Part 36 offer also tends to bring cases to settlement.  Only as a last resort will Court proceedings be commenced.

 

How much will it cost to bring a professional negligence claim?

Each case is different, but there are generally three ways to fund a professional negligence claim:

1) use existing insurance that may be held with your home, motor policy or with a trade union;

2) enter into a “No Win, No Fee” Agreement where our fees are met by the other side once the case is won, save for disbursements; or

3) pay privately on an hourly rate or fixed-cost basis.

DJS Law Solicitors will discuss all funding options with you and agree the approach that is most suitable for your circumstances.

 

How long do I have to make a claim?

Court proceedings will have to be issued within six years of the date of the cause of action (i.e. when you had sufficient knowledge of the material facts about the damage). In certain circumstances s.14A of the Limitation Act 1980 can be used to extend the limitation period for a further three years from the date of awareness that a loss had been suffered, up to a maximum period of 15 years from the date that the cause of action arose.

 

Fill in the online enquiry form to make a free enquiry today and join our emailing list to receive future updates.

 

Our Charges

At DJS Law Solicitors, we pride ourselves on providing an efficient and affordable service to all our clients.  In cases where we can charge a fixed-fee for certain aspects of work, we will do so.  This can generally include:

  • requesting the file;
  • reviewing papers and documents;
  • advising;
  • instructing an expert;
  • drafting a Letter of Claim;
  • conducting negotiations; or
  • commencing Court proceedings

Other types of work will generally be charged on an hourly-rate basis that you will be advised about at the first meeting and in your Letter of Engagement.


Wills

We offer fixed-fee services for wills and probate services, as follows:

Standard Will – £250.00 + VAT per person

Standard Mirror Will – £425.00 + VAT per couple

Standard Wills would not involve issues of trusts or overseas assets.  We can offer fixed-fee services for more complex wills and can advise you of such costs once we have a better idea of the composition of your estate and your intentions.


Grant of Probate

Where a Will is in existence and the Executors need to apply for the Grant of Probate, we offer fixed-fee services as follows:


Obtaining the Grant of Probate

£1,425.00 + VAT + disbursements (if below the IHT threshold); and

£2,950.00 + VAT + disbursements (if IHT is payable)

These charges are estimated on the basis that:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are accounts with no more than 4 banks or building societies (including National Savings & Investments)
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 1 – 6 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If a dispute arises, this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
  • There is no inheritance tax payable
  • There are no claims made against the estate.

 

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.  For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, our charges will be at the lower end of the range.  If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, our charges will be at the higher end.

These fees include all the necessary work to obtain a Grant of Probate, which include:

  • Initial conference to identify the scope of the estate and the correct type of probate application that is required;
  • Obtaining the relevant documents in support of the application;
  • Completing the Probate Application and necessary HMRC Forms;
  • Drafting Legal Oath for swearing;
  • Making the Application to the Probate Registry; and
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate

Once the Grant of Probate has been obtained, our retainer would end and you would be responsible for collecting the estate assets, settling any debts and administering the estate.

 

Administering the Estate

£3,225.00 + VAT + disbursements (if below the IHT threshold)

£3,750.00 + VAT + disbursements (if IHT is payable)

These fees include all the necessary work to Administer the Estate, which include:

  • Initial conference to identify the scope of the estate and the correct type of probate application that is required;
  • Obtaining the relevant documents in support of the application;
  • Completing the Probate Application and necessary HMRC Forms;
  • Drafting Legal Oath for swearing
  • Making the Application to the Probate Registry
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate
  • Collecting the assets in the estate
  • Settling debts
  • Distributing assets in the estate
  • Preparing estate accounts


Additional Costs

There may be circumstances where the fees set out above may increase and if this is the case, you will be informed of what the likely extra costs will be.  Costs in addition to the fixed fee may be needed where:

  • There is no valid Will
  • There are missing or unknown beneficiaries
  • There is a dispute regarding the estate
  • Dealing with the sale of any property comprised in the estate
  • There are overseas assets
  • There are business assets
  • Valuations are needed for property and/or savings and investments
  • Tax advice needs to be obtained


Disbursements

These are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees or court fees.  We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Swearing fee – £5.00 + £2.00 per exhibit

Probate Application fee – £155.00

Additional copies of the Grant (per copy) – £1.50

Land Registry fee – £3.00 per property

Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (per beneficiary) – £2.00

Advertisement in The London Gazette and a local newspaper (to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors) – £250.00

Swearing fee – £5.00 + £2.00 per exhibit

On average, estates that fall within the range outlines above are dealt with within 6 – 8 months.  Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes between 8 – 12 weeks.  Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 5 – 10 weeks.  Preparation of the estate accounts and distribution of the assets will normally take 6 – 8 weeks.

 

DJS Law Solicitors – Complaints Policy

  1. We set ourselves high standards and are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. However, even with the best of intentions, we may at times fail to meet your expectations.

 

  1. Problems can arise in any working relationship. Most times, things can be resolved quickly and informally.

 

  1. If you have any concerns about your case, your bill, or any aspect of our service, please contact the solicitor your normally deal with to let them know. They will try and address your concerns. Very often a face to face meeting is very useful for resolving matters.  Our aim is to either have a conversation with you or a face to face meeting with you within one week of you raising your concerns.  It is our aim to send a follow up letter within two weeks.

 

  1. Where a formal complaint is made, it is our aim to send you a letter acknowledging your complaint within five working days of receiving details. If the issues about your complaint have not been specified, we will ask you for clarification.

 

  1. An Investigation will be conducted and it is our aim to send you a formal response to your complaint within 28 days that explains whether and, if so, in what respects, your complaint is upheld, together with what, if anything, the recommended remedy is. If your complaint is particularly complex, more time to investigate the issues may well be needed and you will be advised of this fact.

 

  1. If we are unable to resolve the complaint with you, and once our complaints process has concluded, you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:
  1. Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and
  2. No more than six years from the date of the act/omission; or
  3. No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

For more information call 0300 555 0333 or refer to www.legalombudsman.org.uk

 

  1. The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.