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Professional Negligence Claims

If you have been let down by a professional adviser or service provider, such as an accountant, solicitor, architect or surveyor, resulting in financial loss to you or your business then you may be eligible to bring a claim for professional negligence to recoup those financial losses. Our experienced lawyers can advise you if you have grounds for a claim and bring the claim on your behalf.

In some cases, we can handle the claim on a no win no fee basis. This means you only pay for our services if your claim is successful. If your claim is not successful, you do not pay us anything. If a no win no fee basis is not suitable, we will charge based on the time spent handling your claim.

Step 1: You discuss your claim with one of our experienced legal advisors. To assess the strength of your claim, we may need to carry out some initial investigations and you may need to provide us with any relevant documentation.

Step 2: If we believe that your claim warrants further investigation, the next step is usually to instruct an expert report. In order for a professional negligence claim to succeed and meet the legal test, you have to establish that the professional you relied upon did not meet the standards expected of an ordinarily competent professional acting with ordinary skill and care within that specific industry. You essentially need to benchmark the service you received against the standard expected in the industry. A supportive expert opinion is absolutely necessary for a professional negligence claim to proceed.

Step 3: Assuming the expert report is supportive, we then frame and communicate your claim against the professional. This includes setting out in writing the basis for your claim and its potential value. The claim letter is sent to the professional involved, but in most cases they then pass it on to their insurers to deal with. It is very important that your expert report is shared with the other side at this point. If the claim ends up in court action, the court will expect all pertinent information about the claim to have been shared in advance.

Step 4: If the insurers do not agree to voluntarily pay compensation, we then discuss alternative options with you, which may include recommending court action. We keep the likelihood of claim success under review and are honest with you if we feel there are weaknesses in your case.

Step 5: If the claim is successful, we then agree a settlement with your instructions and conclude the case. Alternatively, if a negotiated settlement cannot be achieved, the matter may have to be decided by the Court.  

The length of the claims process really depends on the type and complexity of the case.

No win no fee: In some cases we can offer a “no win, no fee” service. That means you only pay if you win your claim. If your claim was unsuccessful, you do not pay any legal fees to Thorntons. In some cases, you may be asked to privately fund the cost of the initial expert report at the investigation stage.

If your claim is successful, we are entitled to recover the time spent on the case (the majority of which is paid by recovery of judicial expenses from the other side) plus a “success fee” equivalent to 100% of the time on the file subject to a cap of 25% of the compensation received.

Hourly rates: Not all cases are suitable for a no win, no fee arrangement. In those circumstances, we will charge on a time basis. We will discuss this with you at the outset of your case and will advise you on costs, and keep you informed on any changes to costs throughout. 

The hourly rates (excluding VAT) of our specialist Professional Negligence team are as follows:



Legal Director




Senior Solicitor




Trainee Solicitor


Additional third-party costs:We always ensure that the work is carried out by a team member at a level appropriate for the complexity of the matter.

  • Costs of an expert report
  • Court dues payable to the Court
  • We may recommend taking out an insurance product known as “After the Event” insurance (ATE). ATE is designed to cover any adverse costs should your claim be unsuccessful. The cost of the policy varies depending on the circumstances of the claim.
  • In some cases, we may recommend instructing our in-house Solicitor Advocates or external Counsel depending on the complexity/value of your case. Counsel’s rates vary depending on their level of seniority but are typically between £1,000 - £2,500 plus VAT per day.

The specialist team of Professional Negligence Solicitors at Thorntons are highly experienced in claims against professional advisers and service providers, with a proven track record of success. We are on hand to help, from initial no-obligation discussion to see if you have grounds for a claim to helping you through the whole process and to final settlement.