One of the principal reasons why sensible people instruct solicitors to represent them in divorce proceedings is that lawyers are obliged to have professional indemnity insurance just in case something goes wrong. That point was made by one case in which a husband won compensation of almost £70,000 from a law firm that was over-generous to his ex-wife in negotiating their divorce settlement.
Acting on legal advice, the man transferred the entire benefit of a pension policy worth over £143,000 to his ex-wife. That was despite actuarial advice that he only needed to transfer 58 per cent of the fund to her in order to achieve an equal split of the marital assets.
In ruling that the legal advice that the man received was negligent, a judge found that any competent solicitor would have appreciated that the settlement was excessively generous to the ex-wife and would have given the man clear advice to that effect. The settlement also contained a mathematical error that the law firm admitted was negligent. In the circumstances, the man was awarded £69,248 in damages, before interest.