Conveyancing and PI most negligent practice areas

Property and personal injury (PI) work spawned the highest number of negligence claims against solicitors in the first three quarters of 2007, according to professional indemnity insurance broker Lockton Professions.

Just under a third of claims (29 per cent) related to domestic property, with 13.4 per cent stemming from PI advice. At the opposite end of the spectrum, matrimonial and employment accounted for 2.4 per cent and 3.3 per cent of claims respectively.

Steve Holland, executive director at Lockton, said the fact that conveyancing firms appear to be the worst offenders has to be taken in the context of the number of conveyancing transactions that occur each year.

He said: “As the margin on conveyancing work is very thin, firms do tend to devote insufficient professional resource to undertake residential conveyancing work, which may be perceived as administrative or routine in nature.

“At the moment we’re in a benign insurance market with premiums at historically low levels; but with a return to the hard market, which may well be only around the corner, firms practising in this area could well be adversely affected unless concerted action is taken to control risk.”