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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 27897
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I need some advice relating to title deeds that I believe

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I need some advice relating to title deeds that I believe have been incorrectly filed by original conveyancing solicitor
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: In the UK Derbyshire, England to be precise
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have obtained a copy of the TR1 document held by the Land Registry, the issue resolves around the way in which the property is being held
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: the TR1 has been filed stating property to be held in unequal measures due tio a Declaration of Trust document, however I never agreed for this document to be drawn up and refused to sign it due to the content and yet the copy filed by conveyancing solicitor states that it was signed same date as TR1 form which is not the case

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years experience.

I am sorry to read of the above. May I confirm what you and your co-owner have agreed in relation to your respective shares in the property please?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
That is what has highlighted the issue as my partner and I split in June 2018 and her solicitor is claiming that the property is held inline with declaration of trust that was never executed in accordance of property law act. When I obtained a copy of the TR1 form filed with land registtry it is NOT the copy of the document I signed, but rather a copy signed by the vendors of the property at the time and the box that was checked when I signed the copy of TR1 form I signed his no longer checked and instead it references this Declaration of Trust document, whoich I may add was not even shown to me by my ex partner until after I had originally signed the TR1 originally
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
That is what has highlighted the issue as my partner and I split in June 2018 and her solicitor is claiming that the property is held inline with declaration of trust that was never executed in accordance of property law act. When I obtained a copy of the TR1 form filed with land registtry it is NOT the copy of the document I signed, but rather a copy signed by the vendors of the property at the time and the box that was checked when I signed the copy of TR1 form I signed his no longer checked and instead it references this Declaration of Trust document, which I may add was not even shown to me by my ex partner until after I had originally signed the TR1 originally
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
That is what has highlighted the issue as my partner and I split in June 2018 and her solicitor is claiming that the property is held inline with declaration of trust that was never executed in accordance of property law act. When I obtained a copy of the TR1 form filed with land registry it is NOT the copy of the document I signed, but rather a copy signed by the vendors of the property at the time and the box that was checked when I signed the copy of TR1 form I signed his no longer checked and instead it references this Declaration of Trust document, which I may add was not even shown to me by my ex partner until after I had originally signed the TR1 originally
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Apologies for sending three times

Thank you - have contacted your conveyancing solicitor yet in this regard and asked for a copy of the file? If so have they commented on the above?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
I have and they have stated that the original file has been destroyed as the property was purchased in 2007 and they do not hold records for that long. The conveyancing solicitor that dealt with the purchase of the joint property was also dealing with my ex partner on the conveyancing of the property she was selling. My ex partner claims it was the solictor that suggested she have the declaration of Trust dosument drawn up, this was never discussed or agreed with me prior to it being presented to me by my ex partner and her request I sign it. As already stated this was after I had signed the TR1 document originally. To my viewpoint this means that the TR1 form filed with land registry has been at best altered from that which I signed and as such I feel it has been done fraudulently.

Thank you. So to be clear, the TR1 copy you have obtained, has this only been signed by the seller or has your signature also been appended by your solicitor by stapling on a page from a different TR1 you signed?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Only signed by seller and annotated by conveyancing solicitor stating that the content is identical to the original held by her firm, which it isn't. I also have email correspondence from my ex partner in which she acknowledges that I never signed the Declaration of Trust.
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
The wording that has been added by the conveyancing solicitor in Section 11 of the TR1 has the following wording "The transferees are to hold the property as tenants in common upon the trusts declared in a declaration of trust bearing the same date as this transfer".Said document did not even exist when I signed the TR1 form and the field that I checked was Joint Tenants on copy of TR1 I signed.

Thank you. They are potentially liable to you if they were negligent for up to 15 years under the Latent Damages Act so the destruction of the file appears to be premature.

The starting point is that your solicitors may have been negligent in this matter - failure to obtain and execute instructions on joint ownership is one of the most common bases for dispute with conveyancing solicitors. you have up to 3 years to bring a claim for negligence against a solicitor from the date you were in possession of sufficient facts to enable you to determine negligence subject to an overall limit of 15 years under the above Act, so the first step may be to lodge a formal complaint with the solicitors - this gives you access to the Legal Ombudsman if they fail to resolve your complaint within 8 weeks to your satisfaction.

In terms your position with your ex partner, if you have signed the declaration of trust then your position is likely to be extremely compromised but from what you say you did not. The remaining question is therefore whether you are bound by the unsigned DoT. The answer is unhelpfully that it is unclear because there have been two different competing decisions in the High Court which have contradicted each other and to my knowledge the issue has not been decided conclusively on Appeal.

There is a succinct summary of legal position posted by a Luke Trim a barrister which will be worthwhile reading if not very satisfactory reading from your point of view.

https://guildfordchambers.com/tickboxes-and-trusts-when-does-a-tr1-form-amount-to-an-express-declaration-of-trust/

Your ex's solicitor has an argument but it is not conclusive law and therefore is not certain to succeed in court. You will also need to keep a close eye on the 15 year timeline if you wish to potentially hold hold your solicitors accountable for any loss you suffer as a result of their potential negligence. If you go over the 3/15 years before you complain to the Legal Ombudsman or issue proceedings in court or join them in as a counter defendant you may not be able to make a recovery from them. You may need to consider legal representation in this matter as there are a number of components to juggle.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
does the fact that the TR1 form filed mentioms a document that did not even exist at time I singed not have any bearing? Said Declaration of Trust was not completed or executed in accordance with S.53(1)(b) of the Law of Property Act 1925 either so does this also not invalidate it's validity?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
when you state my solicitor may have been negligent I take it you are referring to solicitor that I retained to deal with this dispute between myself and ex partner and this is what I have 3 years to dispute and then the 15 year time frame is with regards ***** ***** conveyancing solicitor and what they have done?

The fact that this document presumably from what you say will not be able to be produced because either it does not exist or was not signed will clearly prejudice your ex partner's case severely. Providing the above is the case then it follows that it will not be possible to determine what the terms of that declaration of trust provide and accordingly it is not possible for your ex to seek to enforce its terms. If you have read the summary of the legal position you will see that the decision in Insol was in part based on the lack of knowledge of the transferee as regards ***** ***** the alleged trust and you could deploy a similar argument here from what you say.

As regards ***** ***** solicitors I refer to are the conveyancing solicitors that dealt with the original TR1 which you say occured in 2007.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
OK thanks.With regards ***** ***** latter I have already raised a complaint to the original conveyancing solicitor adn they took significantly longer than 8wks to provide a response, due to COVID which I class as extenuating circumstances so willing to accept, however their response fails to answer the key points I made in my complaint, which was that the copy filed by themselves was:-
a) not copy I had signed.
b) had been altered in Sect 11 from that which I had signed.
c) makes reference to a document (DoT) that did not exist at time I signed.
d) states that said DoT was signed as same date as TR1 when in fact it was never agreed to or signed.

It may be difficult for them to answer any of the above without access to the file they destroyed. If you are not satisfied with their response as will undoubtedly be the case, you can refer the matter to the legal ombudsman though the extent of your losses may not be possible to quantify.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Well the extent of my losses would be dependant on any outcome of court case to resolve splitting of equity from sale of property which should be 50/50 based on intent of TR1 form I originally signed.

Quite so - hence my comment earlier in this thread you would need to juggle the dispute with your ex with keeping an eye on the 3/15 year limitation period.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
As it stands currently I have not agreed for the property to be sold due to this issue and resulting disagreement of how any equity be split.However the downside to this is that I am currently covering all costs for the property and have been doing so for last 2 years+So is the time limitation regarding time relating to when the complaint is raised or when it is taken to Legal Ombudsman?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Is it easy to escalate a complaint to the legal ombudsman?

The limitation "clock" stops running on the date you bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman or Court

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Well in that case I should bring the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman post haste, would this incorrect filling be considered one of negligence or fraudulent activity with my ex partner?

This is an option but equally you are not yet in a position to determine your loss but the Ombudsman may be able to make a determination of negligence but put off determining damages until such damages have been determined. It would be necessary to check with the Ombudsman their operating regulations in such circumstances before you make a decision.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
OK many thanks, ***** ***** I can contact the Ombudsman and speak to someone to discuss this directly?

Yes - contact details below:

https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/contact-us/

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Many thanks for your advice Joshua do you feel I need to retain solicitor to deal with this issue or is it something I should be able to deal with myself? Should I reply to my ex partners solicitor that the filing of the TR1 form is in question and currently in discussion with Legal Ombudsman to negate this dispute going to court and costing both parties more money?

It rather depends upon how much is at issue and whether your ex is prepared to consider mediation etc and if so if this is successful.

In terms of any reply to your ex's solicitor you can consider saying that her claim that the DoT is binding under LPA is incorrect because you have signed no such DoT and had no knowledge of the solicitors amending the TR1 as they did which is a matter which is subject to formal complaint in its own right. You might refer to the decision in Insol v Cowlam and observe that you do not consider her client has any substantive claim in this regard but you would consider mediation as an attempt to resolve the dispute but your ex must be realistic in her aims given the above decision or something along these lines.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Again many thanks for your invaluable input Joshua, in the short correspondence we have had this afternoon I have gathered far more positive input than I did in months of discussion with the solicitor I previously retained but subsequently released as I did not feel they were listening or working in my best interest....I would assume I can raise a separate complaint against them with the Ombudsman if I feel it warrants.

I'm glad the above was of some assistance. In respect to complaints, the ombudsman is empowered to hear complaints in regards ***** ***** solicitor you have formally engaged to act for you as your solicitor in a solicitor client relationship. by contrast, it cannot typically determine complaints against a solicitor you have approached for some initial advice but whom you did not formally instruct

Joshua and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Again many thanks Joshua, I will give the Ombudsman a call tomorrow and discuss with them how best to proceed.

A pleasure. All the best