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The Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol

The Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol is applicable for all cases for which another specific protocol is not in place – for example, the Construction and Engineering Disputes Pre-Action Protocol is the correct instrument for claims against architects, builders or engineers.

The aim of the pre-action protocol is to encourage early settlement without the need for the cost and contention of court action. According to the court Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct "starting proceedings should usually be a step of last resort".

The Protocol aims to ensure issues are identified at an early stage, that the parties to a dispute are in correspondence, and that relevant evidence is gathered, thus increasing the prospect of satisfactory court resolution or ADR such as arbitration or mediation.

The Protocol outlines clear steps that parties to a dispute should take. These are as follows:

  • Preliminary Notice - this should state the details and value of the claim
  • Letter of Acknowledgement - this should acknowledge the Preliminary Notice and be received within 21 days
  • Letter of claim - this should give more details of the claim, including evidence and witnesses. It should also remind the defendant to contact its professional indemnity insurers
  • Second Letter of Acknowledgement - again, the defendant has 21 days
  • Letter of response - the defendant should provide a detailed response to the allegations and should either admit or deny liability. This should be sent within three months of the Letter of Acknowledgement

Help finding the right solicitor with Oratto

If you are looking for a professional negligence solicitor with the right mix of expertise and experience to represent your claim and help you negotiate the relevant Pre-Action Protocol, Oratto can help you find the specialist who is right for you.