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.

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