Professional negligence claims in property transactions

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Article

15 November, 2019

Just as an administrator of a SIPP or SSAS has duties to the trust, a solicitor instructed on behalf of the trust has a duty of care.

Forbes have experience acting on behalf of pension funds against their former lawyers for failing to spot a defect in the title, such as a restrictive covenant or a right of way, resulting in practical problems and a reduced rental revenue.

It is common knowledge that a claim of professional negligence must be brought within 6 years, but how this works with property transactions is less than straightforward.

The case law is clear that the limitation will run from the date of the transaction, even if the loss of rental income is only incurred years later. This is because the loss actually occurred at the time of acquisition. The purchaser received a less marketable property at that date, even though they did not realise this at the time.

If your pension fund has a property with a title defect such as an access problem or restrictive covenant we would urge you to seek legal advice not only to see if anything can be done to rectify the problem, but to see if the solicitor who acted when the property was acquired might have been negligent. You may have much less time than you first thought to bring a claim.

Solicitors have to carry professional indemnity insurance, who will seek to settle any claim made.

When instructed, we can seek to agree a standstill agreement so that the dispute can be settled without unnecessary court fees.

For more information contact Laura Hallett Lea in our Dispute Resolution department via email or phone on 0333 207 1141. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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