How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
75100385
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

Deduction of fees from money deposited for house purchase.

Resolved Question:

My solicitor retained the money I deposited for buying a house for several days after the purchase fell through, disregarding my requests for the deposit to be speedily returned. The deposit was only returned when he had raised an invoice for his fees and deducted them from the deposit. This deprived me of the opportunity of questioning the invoice which I thought was excessive, especially as I had already lodged money with him to pay for searches undertaken. Is it acceptable practice to keep hold of my 10% deposit money for 4 or 5 days and deny me time to question the amounts  invoice?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Have you paid the Solicitors fee already please?

Customer:

I paid in advance for the searches and deposited £25000 as 10% purchase money for a flat. The purchase fell through and the solicitor deducted his £2400 fees from my deposit money and returned the balance 4 days later, and emailed an invoice at the same time.

Alex Watts :

Did the Solicitor not give you a quote beforehand for the work please?

Customer:

The solicitor gave an interim account which was less than the final invoice.

Customer:

My question is - Can the solicitor imprision my money for 4 or 5 days and help himself from money deposited with him for a different purpose?

Alex Watts :

Did you sign their terms of business? What does that say about theft of your deposit please?

Customer:

I am not aware of any mention of this. I just wondered if it is acceptable for him to imprision my money for 4 days and help himself from money intended for a different purpose. Surely on receipt of an invoice one is entitled to question the tally?

Alex Watts :

No it is not proper for him to do this.

Alex Watts :

You need to check the terms and conditions

Alex Watts :

It may say that he is entitled to deduct his fees from your client money

Alex Watts :

If not then he is in breach of contract and you can sue for loss and damage.

Alex Watts :

You would be entitled to claim interest at 8% for the days that he held it

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a payment of within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.


Alex Watts :

If they do not refund the interest to you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

Alex Watts :

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce

Alex Watts :

If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

I have already made representations to the firm and this is their reply: "We believe deducting our fees , is a normal way of dealing with such a situation. I gather you do not accept that."

Customer:

Is their any redress that I can ask for? I wish to question the tally of the invoice as well.

Alex Watts :

Yes you need to check the terms as I have suggested.

Alex Watts :

You can also challenge the fees in Court as per the Solicitors Act.

Alex Watts :

You have the right to do this and ask for detailed assessment. It should say this in the invoice itself

Customer:

Is there anything I can write back in response to his assertion that : We believe deducting our fees , (. And I understand you accept the amount and have no complaint about,) is a normal way of dealing with such a situation. I gather you do not accept that.

Alex Watts :

Yes, check the terms and conditions and ask where they have the power to do this.

Alex Watts :

If it is not in their terms then they do not have the power to deduct fees from the client monies

Customer:

Please can you recommend a form of words in which I can reply to his assertion : "We believe deducting our fees , (. And I understand you accept the amount and have no complaint about,) is a normal way of dealing with such a situation. I gather you do not accept that and recommend that you seek advice from an appropriate person." Also I have not said I accept the amount charged.

Alex Watts :

It a matter of contract

Alex Watts :

You need to ask where it says in the contract for business that they can do this.

Alex Watts :

If it does not say they can do it within their terms then they can not

Customer:

(I am sorry to have kept asking the same thing. I am not used to this and thought my previous attempt did not get to you.)

Alex Watts :

Indeed, that is ok

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

There is just one thing. The solicitor gave the wrong advice which resulted in the purchase falling through. There was a £2000 Council bill attached to the block of flats for clearance of vermin which the freeholders would not pay and which the mortgager wanted discharged first. I wanted to pay this but the solicitor said it would bring the price to £252000 and increase the stamp duty and that the mortgager would have to accept the higher price of the flat. This cost about a week during which time I tried to contact my solicitor to say I would pay it all, but he decline to answer the phone and finally the sale fell through. the mortgage broker said that advice about the price going to £252000 was wrong.

Alex Watts :

Ok - you could potentially also sue the Solicitor for negligence and/or breach of contract

Alex Watts :

The same process would need to be adopted as I have indicated above using making a claim

Customer:

Thank you for your advice. How much is it to go to the small claims court? Is there a penalty if I lose my case?

Alex Watts :

There is no penalty save for the Court fees which you have paid

Alex Watts :

The Court fees are found here:

Alex Watts :

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

Thank you it has been a great help. However, I think I will ask the ombudsman to intervene as I only wish the bill to be reduced to a reasonable amount.

Alex Watts :

Indeed.

Alex Watts :

Is there anything else I can help with today please?

Customer:

No it has been very helpful. Goodbye

Alex Watts :

Great. If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go. The button should be at the bottom of the page.

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Jo C.

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/EM/emus/2015-7-7_192327_bigstockportraitofconfidentfemale.64x64.jpg Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BE/benjones/2015-12-1_0437_ennew.64x64.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11553
    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BU/Buachaill/2012-5-25_211156_barrister5.64x64.jpg Buachaill's Avatar

    Buachaill

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    1754
    Barrister 17 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    894
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/UK/UKLawyer/2012-4-12_9849_F2.64x64.jpg UK_Lawyer's Avatar

    UK_Lawyer

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    750
    I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    402
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8199
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice