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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3840
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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A firm of solicitors approached my pensioner mother about pursuing

Customer Question

A firm of solicitors approached my pensioner mother about pursuing a noise induced hearing loss claim against the firm she used to work for in the 70's. They persuaded her to agree to a hearing test and had her sign a conditional fee agreement. Within weeks of going to the hearing test she decided not to go ahead (primarily at the time because my mother gets very confused about things and was scared about the prospect of having to go to court when she wasn't very good at remembering dates etc). The hearing test was on the 28th March 2013 and she said when she received a letter from them a few weeks later, she wrote back saying she didn't want to proceed. NOthing was heard from them until recently when she received a letter and wrote back again saying that she does not want to proceed and we now have another letter from them saying that she needs to pay costs of £1096.20 to cover setting up the file etc costs. They have referred her to the agreement she signed saying that under the conditional fee agreement states there was a 14 day period within which she could have cancelled the claim for free but this has clearly passed now. I have looked at the agreement and there is no mention of the 14 day clause and this is not mentioned in the law society document "what you need to know about a CFA" which they refer to within the CFA. I see from the agreement that its not even a no win, no fee case so no matter what my mother is going to have to pay out - seems the only winner is the solicitor. I cannot see that they will win this case as my mother didn't work in this factory for too long and surely they will just put her hard of hearing down to getting old? My question therefore is does my mother really have to pay this amount ? I feel like they have taken advantage of her but my problem is that apart from the date of her hearing test, I cant prove anything else because she cant remember when she sent letters etc. Any thoughts around this would be appreciated. thanks
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for question and welcome, my name is AJ and I will assist you.

I am sorry to hear you have had these problems with a solicitor. It is disappointing to hear because a solicitor under their code of conduct has many requirements including:
- to act with integrity; and
- act in the best interest if the client.

If you look at conduct rule one (under the solicitors code of conduct client care) the solicitor must treat their clients fairly and act in a manner that best serves the clients interest. This is measured against indicative behaviours, and what is clear from this solicitors conduct is they have not accounted for your mothers age and vulnerable nature and have caused her to sign a CFA which is potentially inappropriate and not in her best interests.

What you should do is get your mother to write to the managing partner of the firm and make a complaint, the complaint process and who to complain to will be contained in her retainer letter. If they still refuse to drop the fee make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. - they are responsible for enforcing the code of conduct and will be able to sanction the solicitors if they have acted inappropriately.

Can I be of any further assistance?

Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, sorry I think I just sent a message without finishing it. I think I have everything I need, thanks for your help!

Expert:  Alex J. replied 4 years ago.

No problem.

I wish you the best of luck.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards