BLG calls on Law Soc to address litigation liability limit provision

Professional negligence specialist Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) is lobbying for a change in the rules preventing solicitors from limiting their liability in contentious matters.

Senior partner Richard Dedman has enlisted the support of the Law Society and the City of London Law Society (CLLS) in an effort to use the forthcoming Legal Services Bill to remove the prohibition.

Dedman told The Lawyer: “It’s something we’ve been aware of for some time, but it’s become more of an issue.”

Under the Law Society’s conduct rules, solicitors are allowed to limit liability to the minimum level of professional indemnity cover, which is currently £2m, as long as this is accepted by clients.

However, Section 60(5) of the Solicitors Act 1974 voids this provision for contentious work, making it unclear as to the extent to which law firms can put a cap on liability when acting for clients in litigation.

“I’ve never heard any compelling reason why there should be that distinction,” said Dedman.

Dedman said he first raised the issue with the Law Society several years ago, but contacted new president Fiona Woolf again this year after the publication of the draft Legal Services Bill. CLLS chair David McIntosh is now also in support of the campaign.