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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10527
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My South African mother-in-law (78yrs old) has now settled

Customer Question

My South African mother-in-law (78yrs old) has now settled in the UK but she was the victim of fraud by abuse of position in South Africa. She did press charges in SA in April 2013 and we understand Interpol were made aware (not convinced!), given the offender also settled in the UK. However, despite asking, we have not heard anything further from the SA police and we would like to know if there is anything we can do to try and legally recover the monies in the UK, especially as we know where the offender lives and works?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 3 years ago.
1. Your mother in law simply sues the offender for the civil wrong of deceit, which is a tort in the UK. This will allow her to recover for the fraud which occurred on her. She will get a judgment and enforce it against the offender here in the UK where both of them now live. She should get herself a solicitor and sue the offender, getting the solicitor to draft papers to recover the money defrauded from her. As both parties now live in the UK it will be treated in the same way as a domestic Uk case. Fraud or abuse of position is a tort or civil wrong and falls within the common law notion of deceit. So rather than letting things lie because the SA police or Interpol will not follow it up, she should sue the person herself and legally recover the monies in the UK where the offender now lives and works. It will be possible to get a payment order against his earnings here in the UK should she get judgment against him.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks so much for your positive reply. Is the appointment of a solicitor my MIL only option. For example can she press criminal charges with UK police in 1st instance and then decide whether to use a solicitor. If solicitor is only option, can they be appointed on a "no win no fee" basis?

Expert:  Buachaill replied 3 years ago.
2. Dear XXXXX, you fail to appreciate the difference between criminal charges and a civil legal action. The first is for punishment, the second is for money. Accordingly, if you and your MIL wants money she has to go down the legal action route. This will involve a solicitor. Secondly, I don't foresee a solicitor doing this type of case on a no foal no fee basis purely because it is necessary that the offender has money and does not flee the jurisdiction. Given the connection with SA this is a problem. However, you and your MIL can attempt to reach some no foal no fee agreement with a solicitor. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Finally, be aware that the UK police will have no interest in a crime committed in SA which has already been reported to the SA police.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just wanted to say thank you as you have given my MIL some hope

Expert:  Buachaill replied 3 years ago.
You are welcome.

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