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.

 

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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 – £225.00 + VAT per person

Standard Mirror Will – £375.00 + 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

£1,225.00 + VAT + disbursements (if no Inheritance Tax is payable); and

£2,750.00 + VAT + disbursements (if Inheritance Tax is payable)

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 no Inheritance Tax is payable)

£3,750.00 + VAT + disbursements (if Inheritance Tax 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
  • 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.

Probate Application fee – £155.00

Land Registry fee – £3.00 per property

Swearing fee – £5.00 + £2.00 per exhibit

Copies of Grant – £0.50p per copy

Statutory Notices (to protect against unexpected claims) – £150.00