Professional Indemnity FAQ

Barristers & Professional Indemnity Claims

Barristers are not always immune to claims for professional negligence

In the matter Amos v Wiltshire [2010] QDC 138 delivered a few months ago, the issues were whether a barrister’s retainer required him to advise client regarding his prospects of success, Whether a barrister advised client that his prospects of success were good or poor and whether the barrister’s immunity applied

Have a read of this case as the court considered the issue of a barrister’s duty of care. They stated that it “is to exercise reasonable care and skill in the provision of professional advice”, and in this particular case concluded that the defendant’s conduct fell short of what may reasonably be expected of practitioners.

The court further considered Barristers Rules in respect of pleading allegations of fraud and found that both had been breached. The court held that the Barrister was guilty of negligence and had breached the retainer between the plaintiff and the defendant. The court considered the issue of barrister’s immunity and noted that ordinarily barristers are immune from suit in relation to work which is intimately connected with the conduct of a case in court. However, the court found that the immunity did not apply in this case as the preparation of the claim and statement of claim by the defendant was not something intimately connected with the conduct of the case in court.

Judgment was given to the plaintiff against the defendant (Barrister) for $114,302.17

So yes, while their premiums are relatively cheap, they still carry Professional Risks.

Latest News

D&O premium pool ‘must treble’ to return to profitability

A new report – called "Show Me The Money!" by insurer XL Catlin and law firm Wotton + Kearney – is the second in a series of three white papers on securities class actions and their impact on the Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) market. The main conclusion is that Directors’ and officers’ (D&O) insurance premiums are under-priced significantly and need to rise strongly to restore profitability. The main risk areas are those exposed to securities class actions, 

It says Directors & Officer's Side A, Side B and Side C cover has been chronically underpriced since at least 2011, while the frequency of class actions is increasing as more plaintiff lawyers and litigation funders enter the space.

The analysis suggests last year’s overall premium pool of about $210 million would need to increase by at least three times to establish a profitable market, if it is assumed all other factors stay unchanged.

“Recent market developments would indicate most D&O insurers are now endeavouring to restore some semblance of profitability to their portfolios after years of market losses,” the report says.

read more

75% of Cyclone Debbie claims settled

In the 6 months since Cyclone Debbie devastated Queensland and parts of northern New South Wales:

• more than 31,000 homes and business have been repaired or received settlements from their insurance company

• more than 20,000 families have had possessions replaced

• more than 4,500 motor vehicles have been repaired or new vehicles provided

• hundreds of local builders and trades have been working on properties to repair the damage and destruction caused by the cyclone

• over $5 million has been paid EACH DAY to assist local communities, residents and businesses.

read more