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professional negligence claims set to rise following first fall since recession

5 July 2011

The number of professional negligence claims issued in the High Court fell in 2010 for the first time after the onset of the recession but cases are predicted to rise again before the end of the year according to claims experts at law firm Browne Jacobson.

According to the latest litigation statistics released by the Ministry of Justice there was 144 professional negligence litigation cases brought against solicitors in the Chancery Division of the High Court in 2010, compared to 210 a year earlier. The number of claims against surveyors and valuers also fell by around 50 during the same period.

In the Queens Bench Division, negligence actions (excluding personal injury and clinical negligence) were down significantly too, from 362 in 2009 to just 247 last year.

Nik Carle, a partner and expert in professional negligence claims at Browne Jacobson commented:

"This fall off in new professional negligence claims in the High Court is the first we have seen since the recession took hold. This is probably a natural slow-down in litigation levels, which could prove short- lived. Figures available until the end of March this year reveal a steady flow of new proceedings issued and these mostly fit the mould of classic lender claims.

"Twice as many solicitors firms have already been sued this year as valuers and there is also a strong likelihood that claims against valuers this year will also be significantly up compared to 2010. Last years blip will have had little impact on PI premiums and firms should be braced for further rises as professionals continue to find themselves in the firing line for some time to come."

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