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Pre Action Protocols Notes

LPC Law Notes > Civil Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Pre Action Protocols notes – written by Cambridge And Oxilp And College Of Law students – is available here.

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Pre-Action Protocols Is there a specific Preaction protocol that applies to the claim?

Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol


1) The claimant sends a preliminary notice to the defendant once it decides there is a reasonable chance it will bring a claim - B1.1


The letter should contain the following information: B1.2 a) The identity of the Claimant and any other parties b) A brief outline of the Claimant's grievance against the professional c) If possible, a general indication of the financial value of the potential claim

2) The defendants must acknowledge this preliminary notice within 21 days of receipt - B1.4

3) The claimants should send a detailed Letter of Claim once it decides there are grounds for the claim - B2.1

The Letter of Claim should contain the following information: B2.2 a) The identity of any other parties involved in the dispute b) A clear chronological summary of the facts c) The allegations against the professional including what he has done wrong d) An explanation of how the error caused the loss claimed e) An estimate of the financial loss suffered by the Claimant and how it is calculated with the relevant supporting documents enclosed. f) Confirmation of whether an expert has been appointed and identify them. g) A request that the Letter of Claim be forwarded to the professional's insurers, if any

4) The defendant should send a Letter of Acknowledgement within 21 days of receiving the Letter of Claim - B3

5) The defendant has 3 months from the date of the Letter of Acknowledgement (can be extended by agreement) to investigate the claim - B4

6) The defendant should send a Letter of Response or a Letter of Settlement once it has completed its investigations - B5

The Letter of Settlement is without prejudice and cannot be used as evidence in subsequent litigation

The Letter of Response is an open letter and therefore can be used as evidence during any subsequent litigation. It should contain the following information: B5.2 a) If the claim is admitted, the professional should say so in clear terms b) If part of the claim is admitted, it should state which parts are admitted and denied c) If the claim is denied in whole or part, it should provide specified comments on the allegations against the professional d) If the professional is unable to admit or deny the claim, it should identify further information that is required e) If the professional disputes the claimant's estimate of financial loss, it should set out the professional's estimate. f) It should state where additional documents are relied upon and enclose them. 7) If the defendants make an offer to settle, the parties should conclude those negotiations within 6 months of the Letter of Acknowledgement - B5.6

8) The parties cannot be forced into ADR but they should consider it before entering into court proceedings as the courts take the view litigation should be a last resort - B6.1

9) The parties are encouraged to appoint a joint expert before entering to litigation - B7.2

10) If negotiations fail, the Claimant should, where possible, give the professional 14 days written notice before proceedings are started, stating which court the Claimant is intending to bring litigation - B8.2

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