Clients deal with and engage professionals to provide professional services to them. Generally speaking, established and recognized professions evolved after a process of service delivery developed and formed a tradition in its own right and was then passed on from generation to generation. There are often well known and accepted standards of conduct that pertain to different categories of professionals. Today, various professions have peak representative bodies and these bodies are the primary internal mechanisms through which appropriate standards are maintained among professional members. Lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, architects and many other professions have representative bodies, which are often the voice for the profession.
The representative bodies will usually be governed by statutory instruments, legislation, rules and regulations. They will also have their own internal rules and operational policies. Standards of best practice and codes of conduct will be set to create a benchmark against which the conduct of their professional members is measured and assessed.
Guilds formed around professions that were deemed essential to the functioning of society. For this reason, modern representative bodies like the Law Society, Bar or Medical Associations play a very important role in maintaining the necessary levels of professionalism and the standards of practice among the professionals that practice in their respective fields.
Professional negligence is an area of law which addresses claims and disputes specifically concerning such professions. Generally speaking, each professional will have a duty of care; and any damage that may be experienced in dealing with a professional can only be actionable if a Court is satisfied, amongst other things, that the relevant standard of care has in fact been breached. These can be very complex matters going to matters of fact, evidence (including expert evidence) and how these factors trigger the application of the law in the circumstances of each individual case.
Obtaining professional legal advice will allow you to understand precisely where you stand, the express and/or implied terms of the agreement between yourself and the professional, the nature of the duty of care owed to you by the professional, as well as any other rights and/or obligations that arise between the parties, which will arm you with the necessary knowledge to provide considered instructions to your lawyer, so that any step taken against the professional is a step that is considered and with a particular outcome or strategy in mind.
If a professional has breached his or her obligations to you or has otherwise acted in a manner that is negligent or below the standard expected of him or her, then you should immediately consult a lawyer. You may wish to contact our office by telephone on (02) 9233 4048 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make an appointment to see a Professional Negligence lawyer from our Consumer and Negligence team in the Sydney Head Office, or otherwise one of our branch offices. Please peruse our "Locations" tab for a complete list of our branch offices.