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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33038
Experience:  Over 25 years experience in law
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A solicitor has been de-instructed as can no longer afford

Resolved Question:

A solicitor has been de-instructed as can no longer afford the escalating costs. Further court work is necessary and there will be now have to be self-representation. Some fees have been paid but further fees are still outstanding. I have a number of queries relating to the bill and at present will have to take out a loan before payment can be made. However, i have a court appearance looming and will take place before being in a position to settle any fees issues and finalise settlement. Can the solicitor refuse to hand over the court bundle until the fees have been paid, thereby restricting my ability to handle the case?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
I am afraid a solicitor can retain the papers until the question of his costs have been resolved - it is called a solicitors lien. Solicitors can retain their file pending payment by a client in circumstances where the client has terminated the retainer and owes fees, even when faced with a claim or counterclaim in negligence. Happy to discuss. Please rate positive
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
The starting point is in determining whether the solicitor did indeed act negligently. I can reassure you that solicitors sue solicitors all the time where there has been negligence - there is no closed shop to worry about. You should either get a solicitor or go direct to a barrister for them to assess whether the solicitors were negligence. That is where you start. If they have then you can bring a claim against them. I would suggest that you commence this action as soon as possible. Happy to discuss but please rate positive.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. If this means that I am disadvantaged in court is that irrelevant? Can I ask the court to instruct the solicitor to hand over the bundle? I suspect that the issues I have relating to the solicitor's work will mean this takes time to resolve. For example, three of the six items listed were thrown out by the judge stating they were irrelevant, badly drafted or didn't make sense! I simply do not have the funds to instruct any further solicitors or barristers and, frankly, am losing faith to keep paying c. £200 per hour! Is there any sensible way forward?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
The court does not have the power to get them to hand over the papers - the other side should be able to provide you with a copy of the trial bundle. I would suggest that you escalate the matter with the senior partner and explain the level of the poor service - often they will take a pragmatic view particularly when you can raise a complaint about the work provided by the firm to the Legal Ombudsman. I hope this helps. Please rate positive.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Who is the legal ombudsman? Is that the same as a complaint to the Law Society?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Nope it is separate - but overseas solicitors - http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk Please rate positive
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. How long do hey take to deal with a complaint?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
It rather depends on the responses - it can range in duration up to 6 months - but often the initial letter from them to the solicitor can be enough - they encourage resolution and I rather get the feeling that this is what you are looking for with the solicitors. A pragmatic resolution. Please rate
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