In English Law, Pre-action protocols must be complied with before a claim is filed with the Court.
First, you should send ‘Preliminary Notice’ to the professional you are intending to claim against. This notification should set out the reasons for the claim as well as the financial losses you consider you have suffered. The opposing party must acknowledge this letter and respond within a reasonable time frame.
What time-constraints are involved?
Usually, claims must be filed within 6 years of the date the professional negligence took place. However, this may vary depending on the facts of your case.
After having pursued the Pre – Action protocol you may feel you have little choice but to issue proceedings at Court.
The decision to issue Court Proceedings is not one that should be made lightly. Before issuing proceedings you should always check with your Solicitor and legal team that you have a reasonable chance of succeeding. This is especially important as Court proceedings are uncertain, lengthy and expensive.
If the thought of court proceedings sounds unnerving, it might be reassuring to know that most cases are settled before they reach a final court hearing. At MHHP Law we advocate settlement at an early stage, if possible.
We are experienced at resolving disputes for clients and to that end you may be interested in considering some of the ways we achieve this.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
ADR is an umbrella term that describes various techniques that may be adopted to resolve a dispute prior to a final/trial hearing.
Forms of ADR may include the following
Negotiation involves the parties, often with the assistance of a solicitor attempting to reach civil agreement on matters in dispute
Mediation is the process whereby parties, with the assistance of a neutral third party ( the mediator) explore the options for resolution and attempt to reach agreement
Without Prejudice meetings
All parties may agree to attend a meeting with their respective legal teams with the aim of trying to resolve matters once and for all.
There are many benefits to resolving a matter outside of the formal Court Process which include:
- Saving time – The Court process can take a long time and sometimes several years. Conversely, ADR can usually take place within shorter time frames
- Saving costs - Resolution of a dispute through ADR could be substantially cheaper than pursuing a matter through to a final hearing.
- Confidentiality - Most ADR is carried out on a 'Without Prejudice' basis. This allows a confidential discussion to be held between both parties without the risk that points made during the course of those discussions may be referred to in court