Solicitors, Barristers and Chartered Legal Executives are often referred to as legal advisors and there is a good reason for that, beyond convenient shorthand.
The job of a lawyer is to advise their client on the law and their options and take instructions from the client.
Except in very specific circumstances, such as when the lawyer is acting on a no-win, no-fee agreement and so is putting their own money at risk, it is not the lawyer’s job to decide what is best for their client.
Example of Solicitor Negligence: Solicitor acting against client wishes
Recently, Specters acted for a client who had been involved in a family dispute where they were the Defendant.
The solicitor acting for the client in the dispute advised the client to make an offer that was a lot higher than the client wanted to offer.
The client refused to give the solicitor instructions to make this offer and so the solicitor made it anyway without instructions. The offer was subsequently accepted.
No doubt the solicitor had the best of intentions and were doing what they thought was right in trying to settle the claim, but in doing so they forgot their role in the process.
A client who is paying their lawyer from their own pocket is free to give instructions to run their case in any way they choose.
If the client gives instructions that the lawyer does not agree with, even after the lawyer has explained the risks, then the lawyer has the choice to either follow those instructions or stop acting for the client, but they are not allowed to substitute their own view of what should be done.
Compensation for loss caused by the solicitor
In the case of the client mentioned above, Specters secured compensation for the client for the additional settlement sum that they had to pay as a result of the solicitor’s unilateral actions, by showing that the merits of the case made it likely that the case would have settled for a lower sum.
The team at Specters offer over 25 years; experience dealing with Professional Negligence cases including those relating to legal professionals.