PII News 20 October 2016


Reynolds Colman Bradley News – Thursday 20 October 2016

High Court dismisses £5.2m fraud and conspiracy claim against solicitors

Mortgage Agency Services Number One Ltd (t/a Britannia Commercial Lending) -v- Cripps Harries LLP [2016] EWHC 2483 (Ch)

Mr Justice Mann, sitting in the High Court, recently dismissed this claim brought by the lender against a firm of solicitors claiming damages for fraud and conspiracy. The lender failed to establish that the NQ solicitor and experienced Legal Executive had made several misrepresentations in the course of the conveyancing or that they had conspired to hide information concerning the financial position of their client.

The Claimant Lender alleged that the Defendant’s property developer client was only lent the £11.4m on account of misleading information provided by the Defendant’s employees. The property developer, who was already in receivership at the point of the loan, defaulted on its repayments and the Lender sought damages of £5.2m.

It was held that the Defendant firm had not told intentional lies and that there had been no intention to mislead or cheat the Claimant. The court found no conspiracy to conceal the existence of the receivership either.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2016/2483.html [Full Judgment Transcript]



Government has no intention to remove statutory “Consent” defence from solicitors reporting suspected money laundering

The Government’s “Action Plan for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Finance” will not result in the removal of the statutory “consent” defence, as was feared back in April 2016, which currently exists for solicitors reporting suspected money laundering. Rather, they will continue to explore ways in which the consent regime might be prevented from being misused.


Compulsory mediation for low-value disputes could help save thousands in costs

Commercial litigator and mediator Stephen Walker, at a panel event on mediation, called for mediation to become compulsory in low-value disputes. This has been backed by fellow lawyers and mediators and even Lord Justice Briggs who acknowledged that mediation was working well for small claims up to £10,000 and who expects that online dispute resolution will take centre stage in the coming years as part of the civil court re-structuring.


PIB buy QPI Legal

PIB is using investment from Private Equity firm Carlyle to accelerate growth through acquisitions. Since the investment in December 2015, PIB have acquisitioned Cooke & Mason; Fish Insurance; and Channel Insurance Brokers. Their latest and fourth acquisition is QPI Legal, a Northampton based broker and risk management company specialising in Professional Indemnity Insurance for the Legal profession.



Three solicitors have been struck off for failing to prevent fraudsters infiltrating their conveyancing firm

Austins Law, a conveyancing law firm, cost the compensation fund almost £3m.

Following a complaint from fellow law firm, G & Co, regarding its client having tried to enter a property for which they had paid £435,000 only to find the occupants blissfully unaware and still very much living there, the SRA had intervened in the running of Austins. During early interviews, a bookkeeper of Austins posed as a solicitor confirming that he had met the seller in the transaction and checked the original documents.

Two of the partners who had been hired in 2013 had no experience of conveyancing work.

Client funds were improperly used.

All 3 partners were struck off and ordered to pay £75,000 in joint costs with the founding partner paying an extra £10,000.





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