Liverpool firm Silverbeck Rymer was in court last week facing a u1.5m claim for negligence from members of a self-build housing scheme.
The 28 claimants – who are claiming an average of nearly u50,000 each – are claiming the niche civil law firm, which was legal adviser to the Hillfoot self-build scheme in the city, should have known that the scheme was not financially viable and owed them a duty of care.
However, Silverbecks' managing partner Patricia Ewen says the firm is not worried about the action. “The claimants have changed their course of action about three times and we have been told they do not have a legitimate claim against us,” she says.
Strictly speaking, the claim is against the Solicitors Indemnity Fund, which is being represented by Weightmans in Liverpool, while the claimants are represented by Cuff Roberts. The writ, according to Ewen, was issued about eight years ago but only reached court last week.
“This has gone on for a very long time, which is frustrating because under the Woolf reforms many of the preliminary issues would have been sorted out a long time ago,” she says.
The two sides in the dispute are thought to have run up u1m in legal fees, with the majority of the claimants receiving legal aid.