Seeking answers

Authority Law Society of British Columbia

Joe believed that his lawyer had been negligent in her duties. Because this resulted in a significant financial loss to him, Joe contacted the Law Society to make a complaint about the lawyer and a claim for compensation. The Law Society informed Joe that in order to get compensation for his loss from the Lawyers Insurance Fund, a court finding of solicitor negligence was required.

Joe subsequently hired another lawyer who commenced legal proceedings – a process that Joe explained cost him his entire life savings. The court eventually made a finding of negligence and ordered the first lawyer to pay damages, costs and interest to Joe. Joe then submitted the order as a claim through the Lawyers Insurance Fund. When the Lawyers Insurance Fund paid out only a portion of the judgement with no explanation for a $36,000 shortfall, Joe contacted us.

When we inquired about the smaller than expected payout to Joe, the Law Society explained that it assessed the insurance claim filed by the negligent lawyer and was only prepared to cover the initial damages relating to the finding of negligence and not the rest of Joe’s costs as set out in the court ruling. We reviewed the insurance policy and contacted the Lawyers Insurance Fund to ask for further explanation of the reasons for this decision. We questioned why the Law Society did not respond to Joe’s enquiry about why the insurance claim was not paid in full and why the communication he received from the Law Society did not explain the reasoning that formed the basis for this decision.

In our consultation with the Law Society, we suggested it would be reasonable for the Law Society to respond to Joe’s enquiry regarding the amount that was paid out to him by the Lawyers Insurance Fund and explain why this amount differed from the court judgement.

Following our consultation, the Law Society contacted Joe, offered to meet with him, and upon further reconsideration of the matter, offered to pay the remainder of the settlement in the amount of $36,773. By contacting our office and seeking answers for the insurance fund shortfall, Joe was offered the full amount of his claim.

Category Work and Business, Other
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2014
Location Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast