• A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

    A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis

    Accurate understanding and technical analysis

  • National and International Experience

    National and International Experience

  • 34 years in private legal practice

    34 years in private legal practice

  • A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

    A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

  • Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

    Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

  • There when you need him

    There when you need him

Legal Viewpoint September

22 Sep 17

Clients Must be Allowed to Accept the Bird-In-Hand.

In Thomas v Hugh James Ford Simey Solicitors [2017] EWCA (4 September 2017) the Court of Appeal has once again addressed the tricky issue of what duties arise for solicitors, when advising clients under limited fixed fee engagements, about their opportunities to accept what’s offered, or to press for a potentially wider range of remedies or damage recovery. In Barnaby v Raleys (2014) and Procter v Raleys (2015), negligence was firmly upheld against solicitors who failed to ensure their former coalminer client was fully appraised of his opportunities to claim more damages than were currently on offer from the administrators of the industry’s compensatory scheme. But in this latest case, the practical limits - of resources and of the depth of information expected to pass between client and lawyer - were given more commercially realistic consideration. The CA clarified that in contexts of fixed-costs, and/or high volume claims schemes, lawyers are not duty-bound to badger clients who don’t want to pursue certain heads of damage. Unlike Raleys, Simeys did interview their client, and his instructions to take the money on offer without waiting to see if more became available were clearly recorded, and this enabled the Court to approve positively the limited service which the law firm provided.

Disciplinary :

  • The SRA has published a Guidance Note warning solicitors that online posts “which might be deemed offensive or inappropriate could be classed as misconduct if the poster can be identified as a solicitor”
  • Vernon Burke, a Surrey sole practitioner solicitor whose client account shortfall was partially attributable to maladministered transfers to his office account to cover bills which were inadequately authenticated, albeit not dishonestly, has been struck off by the SDT, who found the case ‘sad’, but not to strike him off would create “risk of harm to the public, not from [the solicitor] who would have learnt his lesson, but from the message … that it was acceptable to help oneself to small amounts of client money if subsequently it was repaid”.
  • A young solicitor who created and backdated correspondence to cover her prior inefficiencies has been struck off.
  • Diljit Bachada, a Bromsgrove solicitor, has been sentenced to four and a half years' imprisonment for falsifying evidence in her civil dispute with a former employee.

Back to News

Professional Risk Expertise

Mike Willis has worked with a diverse range of professions including...

The FMWL Approach …

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis;
  • Focus on duty, causal event(s) and consequences; not gossip…
  • Sensitive but objective empathy;
  • Overarching commerciality; and
  • Clear aims, with vision where necessary to explore indirect routes to solutions.