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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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10 years ago my father put the family home in my name. Last

Customer Question

10 years ago my father put the family home in my name. Last year I decided to sell the house but when we exchanged contracts it was found that the transfer had not been done properly and there was an underlease still in his name. My father had since passed away so I had to go to probate to sort it out. During that time I lost my buyer so put the house back on the market and sold it again but had to drop a further £15,000. I contacted the original solicitors who did the transfer and they accepted full liability and signed a statutory declaration. Since then I have been trying to get the costs back from the original solicitors together with the £15,000 that I lost. I have statements from the buyers who pulled out because of the problem with the underlease and also the estate agents who helped sell. My own solicitors seem to have now run out of steam but stillcharge me £200 ph but do not contact me unless I chase them for an update. Fortunately I kept all the original paperwork during the time of the transfer so feel that I have a good case, not unreasonable to ask the original solicitors to pay for their error but my solicitors are not very supportive. Could you let me know if I am being unreasonable and should let this case go. My solicitors have intimated that the next step is court which would incur great costs which of course I cannot afford (I have already paid my solicitors £5,000+) - would appreciate some advice please
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High
Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008.
During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions
from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.

Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other
users, I might not always respond in
, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me
while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to
advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer
would not be accurate.

Have the solicitors raised limitation as an issue?

Is the title /sale now resolved?


What have original sols paid?

I need the full background details please. Thank

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You ask if my sols have raised limitation as an issue - Im sorry I do not understand the question the terminology at least has not been used. The title was resolved within approx 6 weeks but I had lost my buyer in that time and had to put it back on the market. The house was orig valued at £140,000 I accepted £125,000 and that was when the problem with the underlease was found- I had lost my buyers so readvertised and I eventually accepted an offer for £110,000. The original sols offered £1500 but I refused that and we have not had anything further. I gather they are ignoring all letters and telephone calls from my sols so I am advised that the next step is court.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

The legal claim against
your father's solicitors is in negligence.

The claim survives
for the benefit of your father's estate after he dies.

You can bring a claim
for negligence against the negligence solicitor for six years from the
negligence or six years from the date when it became apparent under the
Limitation Act subject to an overall limit, whenever it is found of 15 years.
That is limitation and that is why I asked if the original solicitors have
raised limitation.

The next step would
normally be court but at this stage, I would not do that unless you have a
solicitor dealing now on a no win no fee basis and you have a barrister's
opinion on the likely chance of success and you have insurance to cover the
costs in the event that you lose. Your solicitor should have explained this to

At this stage in time
I would raise a complaint with the legal complaints partner of your father
solicitor. Although you were not that firms client, your father was and as the
executor of his estate you are his personal representative and you are entitled
to bring that complaint.

I would give the
solicitors seven days to respond substantively to your complaint (not simply an
acknowledgement, as they have had long enough in my opinion) failing which you
will refer the complaint to the Legal Complaints Service at the Solicitors
Regulation Authority. You do that in your capacity of personal representative
of the late Mr XYZ.

I will tell you now
that the Legal Complaints Service do not deal with negligence issues. What they
deal with our Service Issues. I appreciate that because the service was below
standard there is a negligence issue but they will only deal with the service
element. They will instruct the solicitors to deal with it in a timely manner
and they can instruct the solicitors to pay compensation.

So I would bring a
two pronged attack, solicitors and court, and a complaint to the Legal
Complaints Service.

Does that answer the question?
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