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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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My question is less specific on a theme and more specifically

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My question is less specific on a theme and more specifically about how to claim money back from a lawyer for work that was poorly executed and has resulted in increased costs for me.
I have been working for 2.5 years to buy my freehold for my property in the UK. Having originally engaged well with me, during that time he:
* Ignored my emails and phonecalls for 4 months.
* Having gone through the specific procedure of right to enfranchisement, during which there is a back and forth over price, he did not inform me that a key deadline was in place to submit an application to the court (8-9months into the 12 month process). This rendered our application invalid and therefore we would need to resubmit the application. During this time the freehold acquisition costs went up and the legal/survey costs of the freeholder increased. My lawyer admitted in writing that he had not met the standards.
* Finally, several months after this process was messed up, the freeholder's lawyers sent a claim to my lawyer for these costs. I only found out about this 2 months later, because the freeholder's lawyers contacted me directly.
Where am I now?
Their lawyers have now sent a CCJ to me, my wife and the other leaseholder who applied with me. The freeholder lawyers are demanding payment of this. I am going to pay this, because a CCJ is not what I need around my head.
What have I done so far.
I have told my lawyer that I believe these costs of £2500 should be paid for by the lawyer's firm and not me. However, I would be willing to pay this and accept half of the payment from him and be done with the issue. I have underlined that in my view, I don't believe that it is my cost to deal, because it happened due to him not being on the ball - I did not go into big detail during that email, because the goal is to be amicable about this, AT THIS STAGE. I am now awaiting a response.
My question is:
*If he does not come back to me or rejects my claims, what is the right procedure to go about claiming the expenses from him? Ultimately, with additional survey fees at the freeholder's end, these costs are going up to £4000 - £5000. Should I be sending more emails, should I be threatening ombudsman activity (which I am happy to do). I just want to do this in a way that is effective and, although my ideal is just to accept a half payment from him, I would not have any issue going the whole hog with this.
Any advice please?
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Could you confirm that the lawyer in question is based in England and is a solicitor?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alice. Yes, based in England and Wales
Thanks. The solicitor failing to meet the deadline resulting in costs being incurred is professional negligence and a breach of contract. If you have a letter from the solicitor admitting his failure then you should not have any trouble claiming compensation from him, his firm or his indemnity insurer. You may also wish to think about making a formal complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, who may decide to sanction him. In terms of the next steps, I suggest that you ask the firm for details of the indemnity insurer and put them on notice of your claim. If you receive a positive response to your letter of claim and are satisfied, you need not take the matter any further. However, if you are unhappy with the response and are not reimbursed your losses, I suggest that you lodge a formal complaint with the Legal Ombudsman and simultaneously with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. These regulators will move more speedily (and are free of charge) than court proceedings. If they find in your favour the firm will have to compensate you or lose their authority to practise.
The SRA - Legal Ombudsman -
Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thank you Alice. This is very useful. I now have this information to hand if I need it.