Competence


Law firm was negligent in property purchase but clients would have gone ahead anyway, court rules

23 February 2018

A Kent law firm was negligent for failing to advise properly on a mortgage and valuation report, but this did not cause a couple in Canterbury to buy a house suffering from subsidence, a circuit judge has ruled. He said it was not the firm’s duty to “advise about structural matters when there was a structural survey available”.


Government to direct leaseholders who want to sue conveyancers for negligence

5 January 2018

The government is to ensure that leaseholders know how to sue their conveyancer where they may have been negligent over escalating ground rents, it has revealed. It is one of several new measures to cut out unfair and abusive practices within the leasehold system, announced just before Christmas.


Land Registry to publish workload and requisition count of top 500 conveyancing firms

2 January 2018

The Land Registry is to publish how many incomplete applications it receives from the top 500 conveyancing firms as part of its commitment to opening up its data. It sends out 5,000 requisitions every day to conveyancers for further information or action before their applications can be completed.


Appeal court rejects convicted VAT fraudster’s claim that solicitor forced her to drop appeal

19 December 2017

The Court of Appeal has rejected the arguments of a convicted VAT fraudster that her former solicitors pressured her to drop an appeal that included a claim that they represented her badly and helped land her in jail.


Court of Appeal finds firm negligent for failing to warn over risk of tax avoidance scheme

12 December 2017

A firm of solicitors should have warned a client of the significant risk that a tax avoidance scheme would not withstand a challenge from HM Revenue & Customs, the Court of Appeal has ruled. The client ended up having to pay £11.3m to settle with HMRC and issued proceedings against his solicitors the same month.


Supreme Court to examine proof needed in solicitors’ negligence case

11 December 2017

The Supreme Court is to review what needs to be proved when a solicitor is sued for failing to advise a client of a potential claim, in the latest of a raft of cases involving Raleys, the controversial but now defunct Barnsley law firm that acted for thousands on miners.


SME firms under fraud attack but see business benefits in risk management

25 October 2017

Almost half the staff at SME law firms say their firms have been attacked by fraudsters within the past 12 months, a survey has found. At the same time, the research into how firms are responding to risk management and compliance found evidence more generally that firms are “turning regulation into a business driver”.


Law firm should have warned property investor clients of “Mafia risk”, CA rules

2 August 2017

A law firm with offices in Italy and England has lost its appeal against a High Court ruling that it was under a duty to warn British and Irish property investors of the risks of investing in a part of Italy associated with organised crime.


Law firm loses £110,000 after e-mail scam as serial conveyancing fraudster faces jail

30 May 2017

A law firm has lost more than £100,000 from a property transaction after falling for an e-mail scam, it has been reported. It comes as a conveyancer who had already been convicted of fraud and banned from working in law firms has been convicted again after defrauding three firms where she secured employment after changing her name.


Bird & Bird loses bid to overturn £2m planning negligence ruling

10 May 2017

A leading City law firm has failed to persuade the Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling that it was negligent in failing to highlight a major development planned to take place near a £26m residential property whose purchase it was handling.


Supreme Court hold law firm not liable for client’s commercial misjudgement

23 March 2017

The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that a law firm which had been negligent in drawing up a loan facility agreement was not legally responsible for their client’s decision to actually make the loan. The decision has been branded as good news for solicitors, who “no longer appear to be expected to underwrite claimants’ risks and business ventures”.


Just 10% of people with legal problems turn to a solicitor, major research finds

6 March 2017

Only 10% of people with legal problems use a solicitor, and often only after approaching other sources of advice first, major government research involving over 10,000 people has revealed. However, when they did use a solicitor or a barrister, almost all said they were satisfied with the advice provided.


Court of Appeal overturns finding that solicitor was fraudulent

27 January 2017

The Court of Appeal has emphatically cleared a solicitor of fraud, expressing “some disquiet” at the trial judge’s findings to the contrary in an oil rig drilling case involving a $129m standby letter of credit. “Different legal minds may obviously take different views” on the legal question at the heart of the case, it said.


Firm’s negligent advice to divorcing husband led to “over-generous settlement”

18 November 2016

A judge has ruled that the advice lawyers gave in ancillary relief proceedings was negligent and that if the claimant had been properly advised, he would have settled on better terms. But he dismissed an allegation that the solicitor had fabricated her file notes.


Law Society fends off criticism of how it assures quality of CQS firms

14 October 2016

Claims that the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme does little to actually check the quality of the work solicitors do have been rejected by Chancery Lane. It was reported recently that since the scheme was launched in 2010, assessors have visited only 12 of the 3,000-plus members of the scheme.

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