Problem with solicitor



From: Jef .


I am in the middle of selling and buying my PPOR. The solicitor who is handling the conveyancing is closed down by the Law Society. I am trying to transfer my files to another solicitor. Just wonder what to do on the following points:

1. The solicitor demanded that I have to pay his cost in full in bank cheque before he releases my files. Do I have to do this or can I pay him at settlement?
2. The transfer to a new solicitor is going to cost me extra and it is not my fault. Am I entitled for any compensation.
3. Since I sold my house directly with no agent, the 10% is hold in the solicitor trust account. I am very concerned about this deposit.

Hope to hear from others who have been thru the same experience or any legal eagle who has come across similar cases.

Thanks in advance.
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Reply: 1
From: Duncan M


Tough break there mate.. I'd contact the Law Society and get them to guide

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Reply: 2
From: Rolf Latham

Hi Jef

If the person has been struck by the Law Society then dont expect fair play. Especially with them holding your file to ransom.

You could always set up outside their office with some signage :O) if you feel strong enough about it.


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Reply: 2.1
From: Jerry Maguire

hi jef
i guess just pay the money and leave it at that or else there would be too much delay trying to transfer your files and stuff
cut your losses and move on

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Reply: 2.1.1
From: See Change


Obviously you need to get legal advice and no one here ( to date ) is qualified to give that.

If it was me ( as a non legally qualified person ) my main concern would be the deposit, and if I could be guaranteed about getting that I'd be happy to walk away and put the fee down to ( a bad ) experience. I'd be raising the possibility of some how giving your old solicitor his money via a bank cheque , at the same time as getting a bank cheque off him for the deposit. I'm not sure about the legalities of him giving you a bank cheque , it might have to go to your new solicitor , or you may need approval from the buyers solicitor.

If he's been shut down by the law society, he's main motivation is going to be self interest, so you'll have to do something to appeal to that. Appeals to ethics / doing the right thing etc are unlikely to mean bugger all and if you wait for a legally enforced solution .....

see change

it's better to be guided by your dreams than your fears
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Reply: 3
From: Samantha Lennox

>1. The solicitor demanded that
>I have to pay his cost in full
>in bank cheque before he
>releases my files. Do I have
>to do this or can I pay him at
Yes the solicitor has the right to hold your files until you pay his fees.

>2. The transfer to a new
>solicitor is going to cost me
>extra and it is not my fault.
>Am I entitled for any
You could probably sue the original solicitor for breach of contract but given that they're going down the gurgler you might not get anything out of them. I would suggest negotiating with them to try to get their fees reduced and recoup some of you losses that way.

>3. Since I sold my house
>directly with no agent, the
>10% is hold in the solicitor
>trust account. I am very
>concerned about this deposit.

There are very strict rules governing solicitors trust accounts, however, there's always a chance that the solicitor could break the rules in which case the solicitor will be subject to heavy penalties.
I would imagine that if you agree to pay the solicitor's fees (or a discounted amount) on the condition that they immediately release the file to your new solicitor and transfer the deposit to your new solicitor's trust account you should be able to strike a deal.
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Reply: 3.1
From: Donna L

Not quite sure what the main concern is here. If he did the exchange he is entitled to be paid for the work he did, struck off or not. If you are worried about the deposit having been embezzled or something this would generate a claim under his professional indemnity insurance through the Law Society I think. With regard to the additional cost, you could make a claim against this if you are needing to get your deposit back through the Law Society but otherwise I would cut my losses and move on, it's not worth the hassle and the fees. Don't give him the cheque though until he's swapped you for the bank cheque for the deposit from his trust account, made out to new solicitor's trust account and your documents.
Donna L
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Reply: 3.1.1
From: Jef .

As everyone suggested I cut my losses, pay him the cost, collect my files and let the new solicitor handle the transfer of the deposit to the new firm.

A lesson I learn from all this is never use a solicitor without a reference next time.

Thank you all for your thoughts.

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