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Thank you for the question. I am sorry to hear about this matter and hopefully I will be able to assist you. There may be a legitimate reason the firm are holding the money due to a pending appeal. However, what you will require to do is raise a complaint with the law firm in the first instance and allow them to reasoned to this. If they do not supply you with a satisfactory reason, at this point you can look at escalating matter to the SRA for investigation. However prior to involving the SRA you must use every endeavour to remedy this with the law firm in the first instance.
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You need to make the complaint to the firm in the first instance, if you cannot resolve it with them you should escalate it to the SRA.