27th June 2019
Waraich and Another v Ansari Solicitors (a firm)
In claims for professional negligence, it is not simply enough to show that the advisor has done something wrong or been negligent, it is also necessary to illustrate that any alleged loss which has been suffered has been directly caused as a result of that negligence. This case illustrates that if a Claimant is unable to establish that they have actually suffered any losses, then their claim will fail.
The Claimants had entered the UK in 2002 and obtained a 4 year work permit. In 2006, they instructed Khan’s Solicitors to make an application for further leave to remain. This was not done properly and so the Claimants then instructed Ansari Solicitors, the Defendant in this case, to bring a claim for professional negligence against Khan’s Solicitors.
All claims have a limitation period which, in professional negligence actions, is 6 years from the date of the negligent act or loss. Unfortunately, the Defendant failed to ensure that the claim against the first solicitor was issued at Court within that time frame, and so that professional negligence case was lost forever. Accordingly, the Claimants then sought to bring a claim for professional negligence against the Defendant in respect of their failings in running the initial professional negligence case.
The Defendant did not dispute that they had been negligent as it was accepted that they had failed to ensure the claim against Khan’s Solicitors was brought in time. However, they denied that their negligence had caused the Claimants to suffer any loss.
By way of example, the Claimants were seeking to recover, amongst other things: legal costs and Home Office fees for applications that would not have been necessary; loss of earnings; loss of capacity “to obtain mortgages/loans etc”; stress and inconvenience; etc. The total amount claimed was more than £820,000.
The case was heard over 5 days at a trial held in the High Court at Manchester Civil Justice Centre. Upon proper scrutiny of the evidence put forward by the Claimants, the Judge determined that there was no merit in their arguments concerning the vast majority of the losses claimed; although it was acknowledged that but for the alleged negligence they would not have incurred the additional costs in renewing the Home Office applications. However, this loss was only a few thousand pounds, and when a loss of opportunity reduction was applied, the Judge commented that he was: “…driven to the conclusion that the Claimants cannot be said to have lost anything of value in this claim. What they have lost is the chance to pursue a claim of very modest value, the cost of doing which would have far exceeded that value”.
Claims arising from negligence concerning immigration matters can often be difficult to prove and a considerable amount of documentary evidence is usually necessary in order to substantiate any losses being claimed.
Our lawyers have successfully pursued professional negligence actions arising from poor immigration advice and might be able to assist you if you have a similar claim.
If you have been let down by a solicitor or any other professional person then please get in touch with Andrew Maidment, Associate Solcitor and Head of Professional Negligence on 01256 844888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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