You may be able to recover compensation from your solicitor for your lost chance to claim.
A legal claim, defence or counterclaim can be struck out by the Court for many reasons.
One of the most common reasons is a parties’ failure to serve their claim to Court in time.
Those in the legal industry are seeing an increase in the Court’s reporting of claims being struck out due to solicitor’s fault of failing to validly serve a claim form in time. A recent example of this was the case of Qatar Investment And Projects Holding Co & Anor v Phoenix Ancient Art S.A.  EWHC 2243 (QB). In this claim the Claimant obtained an extension of time for service. The Defendant however applied for the extension to be set aside, which the Court granted. This meant the claim could not be served in time. The court consequently struck out the claim.
When a Claimant’s claim is struck out by the Court, that Clamant losses their right to make that claim and recover damages and/or the redress sought via that action.
If you have been left in the unfortunate position of having your claim, defence or counterclaim struck out and not reinstated by the Court following attempts of appeal, then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. The loss of your right to claim or defend may be due to the fault of your solicitor.
Your solicitor has a duty to prosecute an action with reasonable diligence, and exercise reasonable competence and familiarity with the procedures of the Courts in which they practice. If an action or defence is struck out due to a failure of complying with procedural time limits, your solicitor may be liable to you in breach of contract and/or negligence. Therefore, it’s imperative you seek alternative legal advice as soon as your claim is struck out.
If you have lost the chance to claim damages via your original action, you may be able to make claim for ‘loss of chance’ and claim a proportion the damages sought in the original action from the solicitor at fault.
Similarly, if you have lost the opportunity to defend a claim, you may be able to claim the damages you paid out to a Claimant from your solicitor.
In such circumstances the Court will look into whether your claim or defence had ‘real and substantial’ prospects of succeeding if the matter was to proceed to a hearing.
Strict statutory limitation periods apply to claims against solicitors, as they do with any civil legal claim. The time you have in order to make a claim against your former solicitor can differ depending on whether your claim is based upon a claim in contract or tort. In some instances, the limitation of a claim against your former solicitor can be as early as 6 years from the date you first instructed your solicitor to act for you. Therefore, It’s vital that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to make sure that you are starting your action against your former solicitor within the permitted timeframe so that it does not become statute barred.
If you feel like you may have had a case struck out due to your solicitor, please contact Specters Solicitors via our website or call 0800 015 1470.