Professional Negligence

Claims against professionals have become a modern legal norm. There have always been claims brought against professional persons in Ireland but since 2008 and the economic downturn in particular, such cases have become more common. The Partners at Holohan Law have long since been to the forefront advising on the appropriate strategies of defence in professional negligence actions. Such strategies include the full litigation of issues but equally encompass ADR methods and mediation in particular. Indeed, the particular skills and expertise of one of our Partners was recognised by his peers when he was awarded the Irish Law Awards Award for “Mediation, Arbitration and Disputes Resolution Lawyer of the Year”. Two of our Partners are the authors of “Lawyers Professional Negligence and Insurance” the definitive and authoritative Irish legal text on this area of law.

Our Partners are uniquely placed within the Irish professional negligence landscape, having been involved in the defence of over 1,000 professional negligence actions against professionals of all types, both as “in-house” advisors within the insurance industry itself and within private legal practice, in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. Calling on over 40 years’ of collective and unique legal experience, insight and know how, the Partners regularly act for some of the leading Irish and International insurers in this area of law. No other legal Irish service provider can provide such a breadth of experience and insight.

Professionals include the likes of solicitors, accountants, architects, engineers, surveyors, financial advisors, auctioneers or insurance brokers. Indeed, a professional in the modern world is really anyone who accepts a fee for the rendering of a service which is advice based. Professional negligence actions can be extremely complex in their nature and complexity; only experienced specialist lawyers should be retained to advise on and deal with this type of legal matter.

The basic test for negligence is to be found in a case entitled Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] 1 AC. This case established that a three pronged approach must be undertaken to establish if negligence exists. Firstly, it must be shown that a duty of care was owed to the wronged party. Secondly, it must be determined if this duty of care was breached. Thirdly, it must be established if an actual financial loss was suffered as a result of the breach of the duty. These fundamental principles still apply in the 21st century, particularly in trying to establish if a professional has caused a loss to be suffered on foot of negligence.

At Holohan Law our advice is always practical, sensible, commercial, reasoned and solutions orientated. Needless to say, it is always based on up to date legislation and case law from Ireland and other common law jurisdictions. Our experience includes but is not limited to:

  1. Providing policy coverage advice to Irish and International insurers, including declinature and reservation of rights for material non-disclosure.
  2. Representation in “inter insurer” coverage disputes.
  3. Recovering over €1.2m cash for insurers on foot of negligent material non-disclosures.
  4. Successfully mediating a multi-million Euro claim for less than 10% of the amount claimed.
  5. Advising a law firm on insurance matters relating to a volume file transfer from another law firm ensuring that there was no determination of a successor practice applying.
  6. Defended alleged Auctioneer’s negligence action on basis of “no loss” suffered by successfully applying the SAAMCO principles relating to property valuations.

Contact David Curran (david@holohanlaw.ie) or Bill Holohan (bill@holohanlaw.ie).