What if something goes wrong and are solicitors regulated?
At Sewell Law, we strive to provide our clients with exceptional levels of care and the right advice at the right time. Client satisfaction is crucial to us.
What happens, though, if you are unhappy with a solicitor that you have instructed or they have given you the wrong advice?
The solicitor’s profession is stringently regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (“SRA”). Solicitors are subject to rules of conduct that mean they must provide clients with certain information, they must manage client’s money properly and they must, of course, provide the right advice.
In the same way that a doctor has a duty of care to their patients, a solicitor has a duty of care to their clients. This is a result of the doctor/patient and solicitor/client relationships being based on trust.
If a solicitor breaches that trust and duty of care, there are a few options available to a client.
Firstly, a client should complain to the firm. It is a requirement that a solicitor provides their clients with details of their complaints procedure. The complaint should be reviewed by a senior lawyer in the firm such as a partner or director.
If a client is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint, the client has a number of options. Which option to take depends on the nature of the failure by the solicitor.
The Legal Services Ombudsman (“LSO”) will usually deal with complaints about the service provided to a client. If there has been delays in the progress of the case or the client has not been provided with regular updates, the LSO will look at that.
If failures by a solicitor have caused financial loss or other losses to a client, it is usually the case that the client can seek advice from a different, independent solicitor about whether the solicitor has acted negligently. The key with professional negligence is that the solicitor has breached the duty of care owed to their client and caused their client loss as a result of that breach.
The other option available to a client is to report the solicitor to the SRA. The SRA deals with matters relating to the solicitor’s conduct. All solicitors must adhere to the rules set out in the SRA’s Code of Conduct. The Code includes rules about matters such as a solicitor not acting in situations where acting for the client would create a conflict of interest for the solicitor. For example, in simple terms, if a solicitor is acting for a company and another company wants to instruct the solicitor to bring a claim against that company, there would be a conflict of interest and the solicitor could not act.
If you have experienced poor service from a solicitor or have suffered a loss as a result of bad advice or failings by a legal firm, we can advise you about your options.