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ReadyLaw
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A friend of mine had an injury. He went to a solicitor who

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A friend of mine had an injury. He went to a solicitor who sent the case to a doctor. The solicitor sent some documents about the injury to the doctor but not the hospital chart. The doctor wrote a report which was unfavourable to making a claim. My friend could see from the report that the doctor had not received the hospital chart. He tried to get the solicitor to go back to the doctor but the solicitor refused and dropped the case. Statute of limitations has now passed. My friend wrote to the doctor directly who confirmed he had not received the hospital chart and said if he had received it, he would likely have come to a different conclusion. My friend wants to complain the solicitor to the law society. The solicitor is saying he was representing my friend on an 'unbundled' basis, and it was upto my friend to have all the documents ready to go to the doctor or specify that the lawyer must get the hospital chart and forward it. My friend was not aware that the solicitor was working on an unbundled basis, did not know what unbundled was, and thought it was self-evident that for a doctor's report about an injury, you would sent the doctor the hospital chart, so they did not instruct the solicitor to do it. ie. if a roofer comes to fix your roof, you do not tell them basic thing like 'you will need a ladder'.Here are my questions:
- How precisely is a client supposed to instruct a solicitor?
- If a solicitor is handling a case on an unbundled basis, are they not supposed to explain this to the client and the difference between unbundled and taking over a case? Most people I know have never heard of 'unbundled'.
- Would my friend be wasting his time complaining the solicitor to the law society? Is the solicitor safe from complaint because it was unbundled? Are solicitors not required to apply reasonable standards even if the case is unbundled? Although this solicitor's fees were reasonable, they got money for something which could never have been of use to the client. Without going into detail about the injury, any lay person could have seen that the important thing about this injury was what the doctors in the hospital noted and recorded.I think it is not the money that is upsetting my friend, it is that this solicitor will continue doing the same thing to other people, maybe with more serious injuries. What would happen if the solicitor was dealing with someone who had a life changing accident, and they did this, or something similar? I know the vast majority of solictors always do their best for their clients, and being a solicitor is a hard job, but I do not know how my friend got into this situation.

Good day your question has been forwarded to me to see if I may be able to assist.

Thanks for your patience.

I will try to as best assist you with your questions below.

1. There is no set way to instruct a Solicitor. Meaning, there is no script as to how to go about doing this. What usually happens is that a client/potential client, goes in and gives the solicitor an account of what has happened. The Solicitor who should be trained or an expert in a particular area would ask certain probing questions so as to ascertain what the individuals concerns are and how best to assist them.

2. The offering of service on an unbundled basis is allowed. However, in order for a solicitor to do this, they are required to clearly set out to the client what this is and what it entails. If your solicitor failed to do this, they would have acted in error. So you are correct in thinking that the solicitor was required to tell your friend what this was. They should have put this in writing.

3. No your friend would not be wasting time. It does seem to be at the very least questionable that the solicitor did not bring to your friend's attention the fact that the limitation period was approaching and/or the consequences of an unfavourable medical report. At the very least the friend should complain so as to allow the law society to investigate and give a decision.

You may also raise in the complaint the issue as to the fees and whether it was reasonable or not.

Hope this helps. All the best. RL

3.

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Customer: replied 2 days ago.
Thank you very much. You addressed my questions really comprehensively.

You are most welcome