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Limitation Period in Professional Negligence Claims 

You may be able to bring a claim for professional negligence against a professional that failed to uphold their responsibilities and/or fulfil their duties. If you have suffered financial loss or damages as a result of the negligence, the law enables such losses to be recoverable from the relevant professional.  

Before considering pursuing a professional negligence claim, it is important to consider that there is a time limit that applies for such claim, meaning that you could be time-barred from bringing a claim if it falls outside the relevant period.   

The time limit varies depending on individual circumstances and when it became apparent that negligence may have occurred. This article seeks to explain what the limitation period is for such claims, and when may not be able to bring such a claim due to being time-barred.  

Limitation period for Professional Negligence Claims 

A professional negligence claim can be pursued when a professional has failed in their duties. The claim can be brought against anyone who is deemed to be a professional, such as surveyors or financial advisors, if you believe they may have breached their contract with you, breached their duty of care owed to you, or failed to fulfil their professional duties and responsibilities.  

For further information about the legal basis for a professional negligence claim please visit: Professional Negligence: An Overview – MSR Solicitors 

There are three professional negligence limitation periods to consider, each governing different time frames within which you have the opportunity to bring a claim.  

  1. The Primary Limitation Period for Professional Negligence Claims 

The primary time limit for professional negligence claims is six years. This means that any claim you may want to bring against a professional must be brought within six years of the alleged negligence occurring. Although the six-year limit exists, it is best to act as quickly as possible in order to remember specific facts that you may not otherwise remember.  

The six-year limit exists to help you make a claim when new evidence arises at a later date. Sometimes, it may not be clear that you have been given poor professional advise until years later, in which case you can still bring a claim within the six-year time limit mentioned.  

  1. The Secondary Limitation Period for Professional Negligence Claims  

In addition to the primary limitation period explained above, there is a secondary limitation period which applies in circumstance where the professional negligence became apparent at a later date after the initial six years. The law can be complex in respect to limitation; therefore, it is important to seek legal advice if you are unsure whether you remain within the relevant period.  

It may become apparent that you were give poor advice initially, but you may not have realised this until many years after the event. If you become aware of the potential negligence that occurred due to new evidence that arose after the initial six-year limitation period, you may still be entitled to claim compensation for damages as a result.  

If this is the case, and you discover that a professional may have been negligent after the six-year limitation period has passed, you may have a further three years to make a claim from the date you became aware of the said negligence.  

  1. The ‘longstop’ Limitation Period for Negligence Claims 

Although the secondary limitation period may allow you to bring a claim later that the set six-year limitation period depending on your specific circumstances, it must be noted that this cannot be applied indefinitely.  The ‘longstop’ time limit for professional negligence claims is an ultimate cut-off point. The ‘longstop’ is set at 15 years from the date the negligence occurred. This means that if you discover that a potential negligence occurred 15 years ago or longer, you will not be able to bring a claim against them.  

Conclusion 

If you think a professional has breached their duties and that you have suffered resulting damages and financial loss, you may be able to bring a claim for professional negligence within six years from the potentially negligent event; or, depending on circumstances, this may be extended for a further three years.  

If you have any further questions on this subject, or need advice, then we would be happy to help.

*This article is not legal advice but provides a general overview. The specific details of your case will determine the best course of action.