City solicitor loses argument with taxman over £215k payment made to ex-firm’s bank

5 February 2018

A City law firm partner who had to pay £215,000 to settle his debt to the bank of his former firm, which had gone bust, was not able to deduct it from his earnings at his new firm for tax purposes, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Law firm faces £68,000 VAT bill after tribunal rules electronic property search fees are not disbursements

18 September 2017

A leading north-west law firm has been ordered to pay £68,000 in VAT for electronic local authority property searches it procured from an agency, after a tribunal ruled that they should not have been treated as disbursements. The case, in which the Law Society unsuccessfully intervened, could have significant repercussions for many conveyancing firms.

Solicitor who used office account “as personal account” is struck off

21 July 2017

A sole practitioner who did not have a client account and admitted using his office account “at times as a personal account” has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The tribunal heard that Michael Healey, based in Liverpool, misappropriated over £31,000 of client money before going bankrupt.

Personal injury firm loses £4.5m claim that work referrer did not deliver cases it promised

28 June 2017

A personal injury law firm has lost a £4.5m claim against a legal expenses insurance underwriting agency that the expected number of referrals did not materialise. The firm failed to convince the High Court that there was a contractually binding oral promise in place from 2006 to 2011, when referral fees were lawful.

New definition of ‘client money’ dropped but SRA gives green light to third-party accounts

13 June 2017

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has dropped a new definition of ‘client money’ which would have excluded fees and disbursements in response to the concerns of practitioners, but is otherwise moving ahead with a huge rewrite of the accounts rules that reduces them from 41 pages to just seven, and approves the use of third-party managed accounts.

Solicitors lose claim over losses caused by tax mitigation schemes

5 June 2017

Partners at a leading personal injury law firm have lost a professional negligence action against the accountants who recommended they sign up to two ultimately unsuccessful tax mitigation schemes. They succeeded at every stage of their claim only to fall at the last when the judge ruled that they brought the action out of time.

Non-lawyer managers setting bar high for equity partners, survey finds

10 May 2017

Fee income per partner at larger firms soared last year from an average of £777,000 to almost £1.4m, a survey has found. Accountants MHA, who produce an annual benchmarking report, said the main reason was a fall in the number of equity partners at these firms, helped by an increase in profitable work.

Cost of conveyancing rose by more than a third over past decade

5 May 2017

The cost of conveyancing has risen 37% over the past decade, greater than the overall rise in the cost of moving home, new research has found. But it remains a relatively small proportion of the overall cost of moving home, however, which was put at £9,472 – although this was considerably more than people budgeted for.

Law firm fee income up by 6%, benchmarking survey finds

28 April 2017

The financial performance of smaller law firms has improved over last year, with both fee income and profits up significantly above inflation, according to an annual benchmarking survey published this week. Very little increase in salary costs, improved lock-up, and reductions in both WIP and debtor days contributed to the positive picture.

High Court: law firm “sufficiently well-funded” to cope with freezing order over £2m in fees in its client account

4 April 2017

Leading litigation firm Stewarts Law is “sufficiently well-funded” to cope with £2m intended to pay its fees and disbursements sitting frozen in its client account, while the true owner of the money is identified, the High Court has ruled.

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22 August 2019

Mind the gap

The gap I am talking about is the one between what PII and the compensation fund covers. It is a surprisingly large gap and so far hundreds of clients, and millions of pounds, have fallen into it.

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