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Hello, this isCustomerand welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today and I will be happy to advise you to the extent possible on this platform. I will review your question and I will be back with my answer shortly. You will get notified when my answer is ready therefore there is no need to wait online.
Thank you for your patience. I am sorry to hear about it. If you did not sign the terms and conditions then you do not have a valid contract and in any event you should not be agreeing to pay any fees which you did not authorise.
What you could do is to set your compliant in writing and state that you formally did not instruct her and offer to pay what you originally agreed to pay for the work done. You may want to direct the lawyer to the SRA code of conduct and state that her action raises a few concerns under the code such as treating clients fairly. Ask them to reconsider their position and inform you are considering making a formal complaint to their regulator- the SRA. This usually helps.
Let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to clarify anything, if needs be.
If she completed a substantial amount of work and you can use her work then she may have a point in relation to requiring you to pay for her time.
If she started working without your proper authorisation – legally she doesn’t have a contract and therefore she cannot force you to pay. For the sake of argument, if she issues a claim in a small claims court against you, your defence is rather simple and, to me at least, a valid one, you did not sign the contract therefore the law seems to be on your side.
Correct, but for one caveat - I haven't seen your email correspondence and as long there is nothing in there which suggests that you wanted her to proceed straight way - then you are right. Additionally, she may want to claim that you entered into a verbal contract with her - again, this is very difficult to prove and as pointed out before, she was required by her regulator to have a signed client care letter before giving any legal advice.
Based on what you have set out above it seems to me that the original lawyer's claim to be compensated is a weak one.