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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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We bought a property just over 3 years ago and were more than

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we bought a property just over 3 years ago and were more than happy and expected to pay stamp duty in the normal way. Our solicitor suggested a scheme supposed to save us the duty and took almost half of the saving as their fee. Recently we had to re-pay HMRC the duty+ interest. Our solicitor said in writing that if the scheme failed he would repay his fee. Now he is refusing saying it was only good for 12 months. This 12 month limit is not mentioned in his letter or on his invoice.
He said he told us but we do not recall and would not have been willing to risk almost £5k for just 12 months. We relied on his letter and understood it was good if HMRC ever asked us to repay. We have paid HMRC+interest and as he is refusing to repay as per his letter we want to know the best way to recover his fees as no saving was made and what is the likely outcome. Is small claims best and if he won can he charge us for his time in preparing his defence? Thank you.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.
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.
If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your speedy response. Yes we have listed his fee cost and interest paid to HMRC. I offered to ignore the interest if paid promptly. Initially we were sceptical and concerned but he wrote a 2 page letter with names of influential people he had done this for who were working for a top accountancy firm and bank and said the money is better in your pocket than HMRC confirming that in the event of a reclaim we would be put in a position that found us no worse than if we had paid the SDLT. No 12 month period was mentioned although he says he told us verbally which we do not recall. We would not have risked 5000 for 12 months especially as we were so worried about it anyway. So as we have already done as you suggested my question is what you feel our prospects of success are at gaining judgement if he is unable to produce anything in writing that says 12 months and we are able to produce his letter that just says he would refund it. And secondly if he comes up with some clever reflective legal argument( he is a very good talker much better than us) and he defends the claim is he able to claim his legal costs against us. Thank you.
No. Its a small claim if its £10,000 or below so NO legal fees if you lose. As you say it does not say its good for 12 months, so I think you are ok.
Does that help?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, yes thank you very much. It's pretty much what we thought but he is a very experienced solicitor and he puts doubt in our minds. It's more disappointing because I have also sold 2 businesses through him but I have asked him to produce anything that says 12 months and he has ignored that request so i suspect he just doesn't want to pay. He told me I should 'take it on the chin' but I think people that don't honour obligations should not get away with it. Thank you so much for re-enforcing our thoughts. Regards Robert

I agree Robert, you are in the right.
If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have rated excellent and bookmarked your page for future use. I was very pleased with how quickly and efficiently you responded. It's the first time I have used such a service but it won't be the last and won't hesitate in recommending you. Thanks again, Robert

Thank you Robert and good luck.
I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?
If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, sorry for the delay but I have been on holiday. I am taking your advice and issuing a claim via MCOL, but can you clarify please one thing. They say it's important to get the claimants details correct and the solicitor I am claiming against is Williams & Co, so do I enter the name of the defendant as Williams & Co or do I issue it as ***** ***** t/a Williams & Co?

Also, I see that using the link you sent i can only make a claim as one person but as the property was bought by both my wife and myself do we need to make a joint claim? If so, then the link you supplied is only for an individual and it says to contact an office in Salford but no number.

I am happy to make a claim on my own but i wouldn't want someone to say that it's not valid because the property is and SDLT scheme were made for you myself and my wife.

Is there another form on line or can I just do it in my own name and claim for both of us?

Thank you