The job of a lawyer is one that involves an ability to make an informed and intuitive reading of a client’s situation. To do so with accuracy and sufficient care requires great skill – after all, the cost of getting things wrong can have a profound impact.
One of the greatest potential pitfalls is the temptation to advise a client that a situation is favourable to his or her interests when the evidence suggests otherwise. A good example of this kind of situation came with the resolution of legal negligence claim in the courts last week.
A firm of solicitors has been ordered to pay out more than £100,000 in compensation to a couple after negligently advising them that they had the right to use a communal garden near their multi-million pound London home.
The lawyer and his wife bought the £6.8 million property in 2008 having been advised by their conveyancing lawyers that they would be entitled to use of Ovington Square Garden. However, once they were refused entry by the garden’s management committee, they sought to argue their position in the courts.
In the event, this legal bid proved unsuccessful, so, following a legal negligence claim against the conveyancing solicitors who misinformed them, the couple have now secured a settlement in recognition of their loss.
This judgement came despite the fact the house was advertised as having unlimited access to the garden. The judge hearing the legal negligence claim concluded that “it was negligent of [the firm] to advise in unequivocal terms that [the claimants] would have the right to enter and use the garden at Ovington Square.”