The practicalities

Getting a claim started

In addition to seeking independent expert advice, one of the first practical steps in investigating and pursuing a claim for negligent advice is to secure the original file of papers from the lawyer(s) in question. This may not be as easy as it sounds. In principle, with certain exceptions, a client is entitled to demand that his/her file of papers is handed over to him/her. Ideally, the entire file is kept intact as originally compiled and the best advice is often that clients should simply attend at the lawyer’s offices in person to collect the original file. But in practice this request is often met with resistance. Typically, the request is ignored or met with a refusal to hand over the file on the basis that some or all of the lawyer’s fees remain unpaid.

There are steps that a client can take to secure possession of the lawyer’s file of papers relating to their advice. The court rules make provision for the supply of relevant documents. Also, legislation exists to ensure that clients can access the relevant records or paperwork.

Once the relevant documents and evidence has been gathered, proper consideration can be given to the negligence and the damage caused.