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Can You Sue a Barrister for Negligence?

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A barrister is a legal professional, often employed to represent individuals in court cases.

As skilled and qualified professionals, barristers are expected to fulfil their duty of care to clients to the best of their abilities. They are trained to deliver high-quality advice and to conduct advocacy at court with the utmost care.

Despite this duty of care, prior to 2000 barristers had enjoyed immunity from possible negligence claims brought forward by their clients. However, in 2000 the law changed and it became possible for clients who have been let down by barristers to sue them for professional negligence.

Professional Negligence: how does it occur?

Professional negligence may have occurred if a professional, such as a barrister, fails to meet their responsibilities or fulfil their duty of care towards a client. If you can prove professional negligence has occurred, then you are within your rights to sue a barrister for damages.

Professional negligence may occur if barristers fail to adequately represent their clients in court, if they withhold information that could have been used in court, if they offer incorrect legal advice, or if they breach an employment contract, amongst other reasons.

For example, you may employ a barrister to represent you in a court case. The barrister may provide incorrect legal advice, which leads to you being wrongfully convicted and sentenced. It later becomes apparent that the barrister acted negligently, leading to your wrongful conviction. You are therefore entitled to sue the barrister for damages.

Importantly, negligence claims can only be brought about if you, the client, have suffered personal damages or financial loss as a result of their negligent actions. Determining whether or not you have suffered damage and how those damages can be measured financially is a task for professional negligence solicitors.

Is There a Time Limit for Professional Negligence Claims?

Before attempting to sue, professional negligence barristers will always check that your claim is being made within the legal time limit. There are considered to be three separate time frames within which you must make a claim for professional negligence against barristers.

These three time periods are:

  • The primary limitation period: Initial claims for professional negligence against barristers must be made within six years of the negligence occurring.
  • The secondary limitation period: If new knowledge or information of professional negligence arises after the initial six-year period, you are then granted a further three years to make a claim from the date of knowledge.
  • The ‘longstop’ limitation period: The ultimate deadline or cut-off point for professional negligence claims is set at 15 years. This time limits exist to allow barristers a level of protection regarding the work that they carry out for their clients.

Because the time frame for making negligence claims against barristers can be convoluted, we recommend asking a professional negligence solicitor for advice. If your claim misses the initial six-year cut off, but is within the 15-year time limit, for example, there may be legitimate reasons for your claim to still be pursued in court.

Contact Wilson Browne for More Information on Professional Negligence

Suing barristers can be a complicated process, so it’s helpful to seek the right advice from skilled and experienced professional negligence solicitors from the very start.

At Wilson Browne Solicitors, we have decades of experience in pursuing claims for professional negligence against all types of professionals, including barristers.

Contact our expert team to find out more about professional negligence claims.


More on Professional Negligence from Wilson Browne Solicitors

What is Professional Negligence?

Professional Negligence Claims: How to Sue a Solicitor

Suing a Lawyer for Misrepresentation

Professional Negligence Vs. Gross Negligence

Misconduct vs Negligence

The Four Elements Of Professional Negligence

Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence

Time Limits for Professional Negligence Claims

Emily Griffiths


Emily Griffiths

Trainee Solicitor

Emily is a Trainee Solicitor in the Private Family team in our Northampton Office.