Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in United Kingdom
Dear Mr Lievens,
Thank you for your response. The answers are:
Your question is very brief, and does not mention any circumstances. The given information might not be accurate because of it.
- Is it in England/Wales or Scotland ? In England.
- Are the lack of conveyancing files holding up the sale/buy transaction ?
No; but they are material to some important litigation.
- What is the disputed sum ? £15,000 Stg.
- Did you pay the undisputed part of the sum ? Yes: some £30,000.
- What are the reasons for the dispute ? The solicitor was always paid in advance for work that he undertook. There should have been no further bills. He never submitted itemised invoices or receipts. He does not explain how he arrived at this extra £15,000.
- Are you suffering any damages because of the dispute. Yes. Unable to afford more legal bills, I am having to devote a lot of time to this legal case.
As a general answer: yes, the solicitor can retain the files. Yes; I know, but only as security for legitimate fees.
But depending on the reasons of the dispute you might be able to "persuade" the solicitor to release the files: No way. He is completely unscrupulous.
- go and try and resolve the dispute with the solicitor: if done civilly and without shouting, but determined. No; this has been tried.
- direct action: go to the solicitors office, and state that you will not go until you receive your files. This does not work.
Essential is extreme good manners & politeness, total civility & good behaviour, and again determination.
If the Police is called explain your case to them (but eventually leave without a fight). Police have not been called.
The embarrassment might persuade some solicitors to hand over the files
Not this one. He is shameless.
- sending him a default notice (registered letter), stating why he is at fault in the dispute and mentioning that you will make complaints to the Solicitors Regulation Authority & to the Legal Ombudsman
I have already complained to the Ombudsman. He regards her office as a joke.
- making a complaint with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/consumers.page), stating the nature of the dispute
I have spoken to them, but not formally complained.
- making a complaint with the Legal Ombudsman
I have done this. They take about 6 months to reach a decision.
If at some stage it is necessary to go the "legal" way, try and find a solicitor who is willing to take up your case.
I cannot afford this.
Any more questions, please feel free to ask
Although I was not aparty to the litigation, the solicitor is now suing me and my partner, who was, jointly and severally for his 'unpaid fees'.
1 Answer from Attorneys
It's a shame that legal recourse in the UK is not affordable...
Make the complaints to both organisations (they will help your defence in the case where the solicitor is suing you)
Try and find a solicitor who is sympathetic & is willing to agree to a reasonable fee arrangement.
If you can't, defend yourself... Try and prepare a logical & well stated case, supported by an inventoried list of proofs.