What is the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol?

Portrait of Helen Hall
Helen Hall
Associate Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

The pre-action protocol is in place to help those looking to make a professional negligence claim resolve their case without the need for Court proceedings. It’s used in all professional negligence cases, except where another specific protocol is in place (for example, if it relates to a construction issue involving architects or engineers).

Our Professional Negligence Solicitors will always aim to resolve your claim using the protocol, so we can get you the very best outcome, without the added stress and time that going to Court can bring.

If you’d like to find out more about making a claim against a professional, get in touch for free initial legal advice today. We can handle Professional Negligence Claims on a No Win, No Fee basis – ask us for more details.

Call us on 0808 239 9426 or request a callback

What is the Pre-Action Protocol Process?

The pre-action protocol sets out steps that need to be followed before any Court proceedings.

They are:

  1. Preliminary Notice

If you decide to make a claim, we’ll send a letter that sets out your intentions and details of the claim, including the financial value if it’s known at this point. We’ll usually advise the defendant (the negligent professional) to make their insurers aware of your intention to make a claim.

  1. Letter of Acknowledgement

The defendant will then have 21 days to confirm they have received the preliminary notice by sending a Letter of Acknowledgement. They don’t usually need to take any further action at this stage.

  1. Letter of Claim

We’ll then start our detailed investigations, and once we’ve finished gathering evidence, we’ll send a Letter of Claim to the defendant, setting out:

  • The details of the claim
  • The legal argument
  • Supporting documents
  • Evidence we’ve gathered e.g. reports from expert witnesses

In the letter, we’ll also include how you’ve been affected financially as a result of the Professional Negligence, and set out how much compensation we think you’re entitled to.

The defendant will usually then pass the Letter of Claim on to their insurers.

  1. Letter of Acknowledgement

The defendant will need to send another Letter of Acknowledgement within 21 days.

  1. Letter of Response

Once the defendant has acknowledged your claim, they have up to 3 months to send a Letter of Response, clearly stating whether or not they accept liability (fault). They’ll either admit full or partial liability, or deny your claim completely.

If they deny liability, they’ll need to justify their reasons for doing so for each aspect of the claim. They should also include any evidence they want to use to back up their case.

  1. Letter of Settlement

If the defendant wants to make an offer to settle, they’ll need to send a Letter of Settlement along with their Letter of Response.

Court Proceedings

If the defendant denies the claims and doesn’t send a Letter of Settlement, we take stock and you can then issue Court proceedings should you decide to.

We understand that the idea of going to Court can feel stressful, so our Professional Negligence Solicitors will continue negotiations to try to reach an agreement outside of Court within 6 months of you getting the Letter of Acknowledgement.

Help from a Professional Negligence Solicitor

If you’d like advice about making a claim against a professional, such as an Accountant, Solicitor or Surveyor, get in touch with our Professional Negligence Team today.

We’ll handle every part of the claim for you, keeping you informed every step of the way. Ask us about No Win, No Fee when you get in touch.

For free legal advice call our Professional Negligence Solicitors

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