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Solicitor refuses to act

  • serendipity90
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25 May 17 #492582 by serendipity90
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Hi

I had a wonderful solicitor who I had a great rapport with however, this solicitor recently moved to a different practice.

I knew where they'd gone and wanted to pass my file over so I rang the practice where they used to work and asked for the figure to pay on my account. I made a card payment and requested my file be transferred.

A day later, I received an email from that practice telling me the bill I'd paid was only up to the end of March and that there remains XXX to pay to clear my account and obtain my file.

I don't have the XXX to pay. I put the earlier payment on a credit card but only because I know I can pay it off when I next get paid. This new amount is too high for that and I need to keep the credit card clear as I will be credit checked soon with a view to buying out stbx. On my salary, it's vital to show that I don't have other credit commitments.

At first, the practice refused to let me continue paying in instalments so I asked the question about leaving my file with them and them continuing to act for me thinking this would solve the problem albeit I'd have to get to know a new solicitor but they have said they will refuse to act on this basis until I've cleared the full balance.

This seems a bit mean to me seeing as I was making payments each month on account with no problems. My biggest issue is that we are in financial stages at the moment and I'm left with no solicitor!!

Can the firm actually do this?

Tbanks

  • WYSPECIAL
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25 May 17 #492583 by WYSPECIAL
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I'm not an expert on this but I think it is standard practise to not release files until a bill is fully settled.

You can't blame them really, you're telling them you no longer require their services.

Other service providers do the same.

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25 May 17 #492586 by serendipity90
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Hi. I completely understand this and probably didn't phrase my question correctly. I decided to stay with them to keep the matter flowing and they have STILL refused to act until the full bill is settled.

  • Bubblegum11
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25 May 17 #492588 by Bubblegum11
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It's quite normal practice for solicitors to have funds on account before acting. They have let you pay arrears due to your financial difficulties probably out of good will. So unless there was a formal agreement as to these payment terms in your client care letter, I'm guessing they see you as a credit risk and now want funds upfront. This is just good business sense on their part to minimise their risk. Can't really blame them. You need to read the t&c's to be clear of your position.

  • .Charles
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25 May 17 #492596 by .Charles
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A solicitor can retain a 'lien' over a file until bills are paid. This means that they will not release your file to you or another solicitor until all bills are settled.

However, if you decide to stay with the practice, it is perfectly reasonable to require you to settle your account and pay monies for future work - this is good business practice.

If you cannot afford to pay, you are a poor credit risk and the solicitor would be misguided, rather than mean, to continue to act.

Charles

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