Businesses seeking professional advice understandably expect it to be correct. When the advice given is wrong, the resulting financial fallout can be extremely serious. Most professionals carry insurance and can be held accountable in those circumstances, but the process of recovering the cost and expense of bad professional advice can be time consuming, expensive and may not always be successful.
That’s why the Shoosmiths multi-jurisdictional Professional Negligence team across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland has launched a new product to help lenders target potential claims in negligence against professionals that offers a more certain route to recover losses.
Shoosmiths Lender Review, developed and driven by partners Matthew Howarth, Andrew Foyle and Gillian Crotty, is a fresh way of pursuing claims for losses on secured lending – such as mortgage arrears on an inaccurately valued property or where the lender has not been properly advised by their solicitor – and includes a full suite of support, including early stage reviews, detailed audit assessments and in-house training.
Matthew Howarth said: "This is a truly innovative product with a funding model that offers flexibility and share of risk and reward. It’s designed to help navigate the complexities of reviewing the merits of a potential claim and provide an alternative, and more cost effective, route to recovery.”
Instead of taking the traditional approach of making a claim against a defaulting borrower, Lender Review targets the professional responsible for the original inaccurate valuation or the original completing solicitor firm. An initial Triage Review will sense check documents to identify if there is indeed a potential claim against a professional and a viable recovery route. Such a Triage Review will be completed within an agreed fixed time scale following receipt of the key documents for each case. If Shoosmiths’ experts conclude that no further investigation is required, no fee is charged (other than disbursements) but if the case deserves a Merits Review, then a charge is only made if a claim is subsequently pursued.
The Merits Review, which will be completed within an agreed fixed time scale following receipt of the key documents, provides a more in-depth, fixed fee review and analysis which will recommend whether a claim should be pursued, and provides a cost and time estimate for potential recovery. All that is required for this more detailed assessment is a proforma instruction and the key transaction documents.
The Shoosmiths Professional Negligence team can also assist in audits of arrears cases (remotely or on site) to identify potential claims on current and historic cases, provide training for in-house teams as well as identifying and running groups of claims against negligent professionals. This delivers economies of scale by initiating one set of proceedings for multiple transactions and also enables cases with more modest shortfalls to be considered, rather than a conventional ‘one size fits all’ loss threshold approach below which claims were not considered economic to pursue.