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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6545
Experience:  I have 20 years of experience as a solicitor in litigation and other areas
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The distribution of a legacy is being held up be a beneficiary

Customer Question

The distribution of a legacy is being held up be a beneficiary who claims that land (subject of the Will) has been sold too cheaply.
There was a dispute, going back 15 years, which challenged the right to develop the land. This matter has now been resolved.
Forrester & Forrester, the firm of solicitors who acted for the family during this time and who have been the family's solicitors since the 1940's, have recently merged with another firm of solicitors who happen to be acting for the other side, so despite the long association, my husband's family has had to engage another solicitor.
The incoming solicitor to Forrester & Forrester, however, has insisted that he can continue to represent the other side since he is godfather to the client. He claim that the work on this matter will be carried out in his own time. BUT we see that letters from the new solicitor (Wansbroughs) are addressed to the original company of solicitors, now Forrester Sylveter & Mackett).
Neither the solicitor at Wansbroughs nor the original solicitor are happy about this and we are certainly not. Is it legal for Forrester, Sylvester & Mackett to continue to act for the other side?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 3 years ago.

The Law Society guidelines say there where solicitors inadvertently find themselves acting for both sides in a dispute, and hence a conflict of interest arises, that the solicitors involved should send both parties away to find alternative solicitors.That applies in all cases and being a godparent to one of the parties is not an exception. The reason for the rule is that the solicitors involved will be party to information from both sides which is confidential and would not ordinarily be disclosed to the other side in the dispute. The solicitor is not only making up the rules as he goes along but is ignoring the reason for the rule in the first place and I would threaten to report him to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority for misconduct .

I hope this helps. If there are any further points please reply

Best wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6545
Experience: I have 20 years of experience as a solicitor in litigation and other areas
Michael Holly and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the information. Does the above apply even if the solicitor says he is working for the client in his own time?


 


 


 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Could I ask another question?


In August last year the original solicitor sent my husband a letter to say that beneficiaries would receive their share of proceeds from the Will in September. When nothing further was heard my husband telephoned the solicitor only to find that there was another hold-up - that of the above.


Does the solicitor bear any responsibility for this?

Expert:  Michael Holly replied 3 years ago.

Dear XXXXX

To answer your first reply, it makes no difference because he has access to both files and is clearly using the firm to do his typing.The issue is twofold.Firstly a dispute is a clear conflict situation so the solicitor cannot act for both. Where the files have information on them which would not ordinarily be passed to the other side in a dispute then the solicitor must decline to act for both.

As far as your follow up question is concerned.If the dispute affecting the estate is likely to affect the amount left in the estate then the solicitors cannot distribute all the monies to the beneficiaries.If it is a large estate then they may be able to make partial payments, say, half now the rest when the dispute is resolved as an example

Yours sincerely

Michael

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Very many thanks. This is very useful

Expert:  Michael Holly replied 3 years ago.

You are welcome

Yours sincerely

Michael

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