House of horrors

Interestingly, Sal Mumjee, a partner with a London firm notes: "Most risks actually do not arise as a result of a lack of technical expertise of the law. In fact, in most cases the trigger is a basic failure to put in place a safeguard system or simply failing to spend sufficient time on the matter". Causes for complaint commonly include a failure to investigate title and charges, and inappropriate searches and enquiries. Other faults include the failure to advise on the possibility of co-ownership, and missing the priority deadline for registering titles and charges.

Other areas where the solicitor has to maintain a very high level of care include how joint assets between husband and wife that are used to secure the husband's business are dealt with in divorce (Royal Bank of Scotland v Etridge (No 2) [2002] 2AC 773). The article also mentions problems with leases, money laundering concerns and environmental risk.

Overall, good practice management is still felt to be the best way to reduce professional negligence. The use of an electronic or paper diary is perhaps the most vital tool in this regard.

Article in the Law Gazette

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