The Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence Claims sets out details as to what a letter of claim for a professional negligence claim should contain.
The Protocol applies to claims against a professional other than construction professionals (who are covered by the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes) and healthcare providers (who are covered by the Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes).
The Protocol does not just apply to negligence claims against professionals. It will also apply to claims against professionals for breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty.
What are the requirements of the Protocol?
The preliminary notice
The Protocol encourages Claimants, as soon as they decide that there is a reasonable chance that they will bring a claim against a professional, to notify the professional in writing. The Protocol sets out what the preliminary notice should contain. It should be addressed to the professional and should contain the following information:
The identity of the parties
The preliminary notice should state the name of the Claimant and provide the identity of any other parties involved in the dispute or a related dispute.
The preliminary notice should provide a brief outline of the Claimant’s grievance against the professional.
The value of the potential claim
The preliminary notice should provide a general indication of the financial value of the potential claim, if it is possible to do so at this stage.
Professional Indemnity Insurers
The preliminary notice should contain a request that the professional informs his professional indemnity insurers, if any, immediately of the existence of the potential claim.
The letter of claim
The Protocol requires a Claimant to send a detailed letter of claim to the professional as soon as he decides that there are grounds for a claim against the professional. The Protocol sets out what the letter of claim should contain.
The letter of claim will normally be an open letter, as opposed to one which is marked “without prejudice”.
If Court proceedings are subsequently commenced and the letter of claim differs materially from the Particulars of Claim in those proceedings, the Court may take this into account when deciding the question of costs.
If the Claimant has sent a letters of claim (or equivalent) to another party in relation to the dispute or a related dispute, a copy of that letter of claim should be sent to the professional with the letter of claim unless the Claimant is claiming against someone else to whom the Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence Claims does not apply.
For more information on:
- The identity of the parties
- The facts
- The allegations against the professional
- Financial loss suffered by the Claimant
- Expert evidence
- Professional Indemnity Insurers