This impressive guide is a summary of the issues that can give rise to claims against solicitors, and the limits of and defences to such claims. The topics include claims by third parties, the scope and limits of a retainer and where solicitors may share liability with others, as well a consideration of the usual elements of negligence claims such as causation and quantum.

The principles advanced are amply illustrated by reference to current case law, mainly through clear and concise summaries of the key facts of the lead authorities and short quotations from the judgments. The authors have been sparing in putting their own views forward, but such commentary as they add combines restraint and good sense.

The text lives up to its title as ‘a practical guide’ with many chapters concluding with an assessment of the practical considerations that arise from the topic covered. There are also two valuable chapters devoted solely to practical issues, one on claims-handling and one on settlement.

It is remarkable how much information and analysis the guide contains within 200 pages. For example, the complex application of the law of limitation defences to claims against solicitors is covered in just 13 pages. The inevitable result is the book is rather heavy going at times, with utility occasionally trumping style; this is a book for practical application rather than for the curious reader.

It is no fault of the authors that a survey of the field is apt to leave a solicitor feeling rather beleaguered, given the numerous and onerous duties imposed upon solicitors, often implied by the courts rather than voluntarily assumed in an express retainer.

This book has set the benchmark and we should all hope for regular updates. Every practice, especially those undertaking conveyancing or advising on business affairs, should have a copy.

Author: CMS Cameron McKenna, Anna Crew (editor)

Publisher: Sweet & Maxwell, £75

James Packer is a director of Duncan Lewis