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Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND UNLESS YOU HAVE THE APPROPRİATE KNOWLEDGE,

Customer Question

PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND UNLESS YOU HAVE THE APPROPRİATE KNOWLEDGE, EXPERİENCE AND EXPERTISE.
IN 2012 I ENGAGED A UK LAW FIRM ON A CFA BASİS TO PURSUE A CLAIM FEES. THE AMOUNT WAS/IS OF THE ORDER OF $3 MILLION AS IS CURRENTLY IN PROCESS IN THE QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION. BUT WINDING BACK THE TAPE, THE FIRM WITH WHICH I SIGNED THE AGREEMENT WAS INTERVENED BY THE SRA AND THE LAWYER (SENIOR PARTNER) WITH WHOM I WAS WORKING WAS DISBARRED. I ONLY FOUND THIS OUT LATER. IN ANY CASE HE ASKED ME TO SIGN UP WITH THE NEW FIRM THAT HE HAD FOUNDED AND I DULY PROVIDED KYC DETAILS AND SIGNED A CFA WITH THIS NEW FIRM. WORKING WITH THIS PERSON SEVERAL DOCS--SERVİCE OF THE DEFENDANT, CORRESPONDANCE WITH DEFENDANT'S LAWYERS AND SUBMISSIONS TO THE COURT--WERE PRODUCED ON THE NEW LAW FIRM'S LETTERHEAD. IN 2014 I CAME INTO CONTACT WITH A NEW RESPONSIBLE PERSON AT THE LAW FIRM WHO CANCELLED THE CFA BUT OFFERED TO HELP ON AN INFORMAL BASIS. FURTHER DOCS WERE PRODUCED AND SUBMITTED ON THE LAW FIRM'S LETTERHEAD. SO A DISBARRED SOLICITOR USING A LAW FIRM'S (WHERE HIS WIFE IS OFFICE MANAGER) LETTERHEAD AND WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF A RESPONSIBLE PERSON AT THE LAW FIRM WHO KNEW THAT THE PERSON LEADING THE CHARGE WAS DISBARRED. BTW THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON TOLD ME THAT THE DISBARRED PERSON HAD NO RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FIRM. SUBSEQUENTLY MY CLAIM RAN INTO DIFFICULTIES DUE TO ''CONTRADICTIONS AND INCONSISTENCIES'' RELATED TO MY CLAIM AND LACK OF ADHERENCE TO COURT PROCEDURES AND PROCESSES. WITHOUT GOING INTO DETAIL IT'S QUITE CLEAR THAT ANY MISTAKES, OMMİSSIONS ETC WERE DOWN TO THE LAW FIRM AND IN PARTICULAR THE ROGUE ADVISOR (THE DISBARRED PERSON). INITIALLY MY CLAİM WAS STRUCK OUT (EVEN THOUGH THIS HAD NOT BEEN REQUESTED BY THE DEFENDANT) OF PROCESS. THİS CAN AND WİLL BE OVERTURNED BUT WHAT TRANSPIRED BEFORE, THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN, HAS UNDOUBTEDLY PREJUDICED MY CREDIBILITY AND THE MERITORIOUSNESS OF MY CLAIM. I, AS A LAYMAN, SEE GROSS NEGLIGEANCE AND INCOMPETEENCE AS A POTENTIAL CLAIM AGAINST THE LAW FIRM. I ALSO SEE THE SRA BEING VERY INTERESTED IN THE ACTIVITIES OF THE DISBARRED SOLICITOR AND THE REPSONSIBLE PERSON AT THE LAW FIRM WHO CONTINUED TO WORK WITH ME AND HIM IN AN UNOFFICIAL BASIS. CLEARLY CLIENT CARE WAS NOT HIGH ON THE AGENDA. I WOULD APPRECIATE FEEDBACK AS TO WHETHER I MAY HAVE A (FINANCIAL DAMAGES) CLAIM AGAINST THE LAW FIRM, THE DISBARRED LAWYER (PROBABLY A WASTE OF TIME AS HE WAS RECENTLY DECLARED BANKRUPT) AND, IF SO, HOW SHOULD I GO ABOUT THIS. CLEARLY WHAT WOULD BE NECESSARY IS TO MAKE A CLAIM AGAINST THE LAW FIRM THAT WOULD SUCCESSFULLY TRIGGER A LIABILITY INSURANCE SETTLEMENT. THIS IS A COMPLEX MATTER I AM MORE THAN PREPARED TO PAY INFORMATIVE AND HELPFUL RESPONSE. MANY THANKS
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts : my name is ***** ***** I will help hou with this.
Alex Watts : Did the new confirm in writing that this other person was nothing to do with them?
Alex Watts : do you know how this person got hold of letterheads firm?
Customer :

The new firm did not need to confirm this until way into the process. I cannot recall anything in print but it would be very easy to get the required written confirmations. The person was able to use the firm's letterheads as his wife is the firm's office manager and the person also kept close contact with certain of the lawyers who were previously working with him at the disbarred firm.

Alex Watts : On what basis was the new CFA turned down? How was this communicated ?
Customer :

Alex, are you really up . It's complex and I have to get it right BECAUSE the law firm against which I may take action is currently representing me and instructing the barrister that I have retained. The barrister is aware of my concerns but has not yet opined on what I may or may not be able to do about them. That said the barrister has told me and made it known to the firm representing me that it would be much better a to have a true litigation specialist to pursue my claim. I will fully understand if this not your area of expertise.

Alex Watts : yes I deal with litigation 5 days a week at work
Customer :

The CFA was not renewed. The new responsible person did not want to renew but did offer at the time to continue representing me if I paid fees which I declined to do. This is all a matter of court record. And was communicated to me by the law firm by email. What I need to know is what would be needed to make a negligeance (or whatever) claim against the firm. And I assume there is also the possibility of a misconduct claim under SRA regulations. Alex, I am in Istanbul and it's getting late. If you think you can handle this, which would be great, can we pick it up tomorrow? Many thanks.

Alex Watts : Yes let's talk then
Alex Watts : did you have any email from the firms email account or documents to you on their letterheads ?
Customer :

Plenty--particularly emails...

Alex Watts :

Ok. Have you approached another firm re a negligence claim?

Customer :

Noone as yet. I am still working with the firm in question and my barrister. Could we work backwards. If I have a claim how would I go about making something of it eg) would I hire a firm to make the claim on my behalf? b) would we involve the SRA? c) I assume the claim would be against the firm in question but they don't have any money so I assume we would be relying on them being obliged to resort to the liability insurance coverage, right? d)are they obliged to have such a policy? e) how much is the minimum and could it cover anywhere the amount of my claim ie $3 million? f) I assume that very quickly I or my solicitor would be taking on the insurance company? g) is this likely to be a quick, clean and cheap (haha) claim or long, complex and expensive? h) would it be settled directly with the insurance company or would we take this to court and if so which one? i) do you or some colleagues have experience of this type of claim?. Thanks.

Alex Watts :

a) Another firm may well take this on a CFA especially if it is a negligence claim

Alex Watts :

b) You dont have to, but if there is a finding from the SRA it would certainly help

Alex Watts :

c) Yes it would be against the firm and their insurers should pick up the tab

Alex Watts :

d) Yes they are required by the rules to have an indemnity policy

Alex Watts :

e) The maximum and minimum depends on the premium and required level of coverage, so it really depends

Alex Watts :

f) Yes it would be the insurance company I imagine. As soon as there is a claim the insurance company take over

Alex Watts :

g) It really depends, it may be settled quickly in which case its cheap, or if it goes to Court given the value it would take around 6-12 months

Alex Watts :

h) Yes it would be the insurance company. I can't say which one as it depends who they are insured by

Alex Watts :

i) Never had it happen that someone has pretended to be in a law firm!

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything about this today please?

Customer :

Do you have anywhere sufficient info to take a guess (?) as to whether I may have a negligeance claim? How do I find a lawyer that would look at this on a CFA basis? I would offer generous terms.

Alex Watts :

I think by the sound of it you have a negligence claim. You can look lawyer locally to you if you wish to look at this: http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/ or you can try a barrister direct access

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else ?

Customer :

I live in Istanbul so no local lawyer. Is this something you would look at? If not, do you have a contact in another firm who might?

Alex Watts :

Sadly I am unable to act as it is against site rules.

Alex Watts :

However if you search online using the above link or the Bar Standards Board I think it is suitable public access Barrister and they can communicate with you

Alex Watts :

Or you can try: www.clerksroomdirect.com

Alex Watts :

They have a list of public access Barristers

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer :

I had thought that this could be taken offline and an agreement to retain discussed. It seems a little silly to spend (paid) time with a lawyer on the matter in hand and then not to be able to use their services. Also while the sites are useful, identifying someone prepared to take this on on a CFA basis is more problematic. Maybe I should consult the barrister who is currently representing me (instructed by the errant law firm) about this matter....

Alex Watts :

I have submitted an additional service to consider.

Customer :

I would like to do this tomorrow pm if that could work ..

Alex Watts :

Yes this would work. Might I ask you to rate the answer and accept the additional service so that I may assist you further

Customer :

Alex, please let me speak with my barrister before I accept the additional service. I promise you that I will rate your service so that you get paid you have done so far in the next 24 hours. Thanks.

Alex Watts :

yes thank you in advance.

Alex Watts :

The question does not close when you rate.

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.


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