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Resolving complaints about solicitors

Financial effects

What do we mean by financial effects?

When we refer to financial effects, we mean expenses you have to pay or money you have lost as a result of your solicitor's poor service.

Example 1

Your solicitor does not tell you that a court hearing you go to has been postponed. You have to pay travel expenses, and lose some of your pay for taking time off work, as a direct result of the mistake your solicitor made. You could get compensation for the financial effects - travel expenses and loss of income.

Example 2

You sell your flat after already paying future service charges. The buyers owe you the amount that you have paid upfront but, due to a mistake made by your solicitor, they do not pay you. In this case, the financial effects are the service charges you cannot recover.

You can't be awarded compensation for the same financial effects twice. If you have been to court and they have considered the financial effects and given you compensation, we can't compensate you again for these effects. We will take account of any compensation the court has awarded, and they will take account of any compensation we have awarded.

How much money will I get?

The most compensation you can get for distress, inconvenience and financial effects is Ј15,000.

What if I don't know how much money I've lost?

We can't compensate you for financial effects if you don't know how much money you've lost. For example, if you say that you had to instruct a new solicitor to put things right, we need to know what their costs are. If you want to know more about the other steps you can take, call our helpline on 0845 608 6565 or speak to your caseworker if we are already dealing with a complaint for you.

What do you need to see before you can award me compensation?

We need to see evidence of any financial effects resulting from your solicitor's poor service. For example, we might need to see receipts, bills or bank statements.

How can I work out if I will recover money I have lost or spent?

Think about the questions below when you're estimating the amount of money we might tell your solicitor to pay to recover money you have spent.

  • has the solicitor provided a poor service?
  • have you lost money or spent money as a result of the poor service? (If you haven't lost money we could still tell the solicitors to pay you compensation for distress and inconvenience, reduce your bill, or take specific action to put things right.)
  • is the amount of money you are claiming reasonable?
  • is the amount of money you are claiming less than Ј15,000, or are you prepared to limit it it to Ј15,000?
  • do you have evidence of the money you have lost or spent so that we can work out how much you are trying to recover? (The kind of evidence that will help us includes things like invoices, receipts and bank statements.)

If you can answer 'yes' to all those questions we could tell the solicitor to pay you compensation for the money you have lost or spent.

If you can only answer 'yes' to some of the questions, there may be other ways we can help. Other action might be more appropriate, such as taking the solicitor to court. We will tell you about other options available to you. Please call our helpline 0845 608 6565 to discuss this in more detail, or speak to your caseworker.