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What happens if your solicitors close down?

Sometimes, your case can be brought to a halt by conditions out of your control. Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors explain what to do if your solicitors has closed or been shut down.

No matter how well you prepare, there are some things you just can’t plan for, and your solicitors’ firm closing down is one of them. This is something that many in our area are experiencing with the closure of Coles Solicitors, which had offices across the North East and North Yorkshire.

When faced with such upheaval, it can be daunting looking for a new firm to represent you and difficult to know where to start.

As a full-service law firm, we have a team of experienced, professional solicitors ready to help you with everything from your personal injury case to the sale and purchase of your home, from your divorce and children-related matters, to the administration of a loved one’s estate, and from legal disputes and debt collection to matters relating to your business.

If you have been affected by the closure of Coles Solicitors, please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0333 444 4422 or drop us a line to info@tbilaw.co.uk to find out how we can support your current and ongoing legal needs.

If you’re still unsure about what a solicitors’ closure means, we’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand.

Who’s in charge of regulating solicitors’?

The legal profession in England and Wales is monitored by a regulation authority called the SRA and its sole purpose is to protect the public by ensuring that solicitors meet high standards, and by acting when risks are identified.

Sometimes that action is to close the practice.

Why would a firm be closed down by the SRA?

If the SRA believes the interests of a firms’ clients, the public or the solicitors’ profession are in danger of being – or have been – compromised, the authority will step in to intervene as a protective step.

Reasons for the SRA to intervene include suspected dishonesty by someone at the firm, the practice has been abandoned, serious breaches of the SRA Standards and Regulations, or the only solicitor of the firm being made bankrupt, sent to prison or struck off the roll of solicitors.

What happens then?

Solicitors hold a great deal of papers for their clients, from deeds and documents to case files, which the SRA arranges to be held safely by another firm called an intervention agent.

This agent will then work hard to contact all clients impacted to find out what they would like to do with their documentation.

All money that is held by the firm, including that of clients, is returned to those who it belongs to if they can be traced.

Although this may take some time, the intervention agent will keep all documents and monies safe until they are able to return them to their rightful owners.

What steps do I need to take?

Whether you are a current or former client of the impacted firm, you need to consider finding another firm of solicitors close to you that can act on your behalf.

This is not a decision to take lightly, so make sure you find a firm and legal representative that has your best interests at heart and that you can build a strong relationship with moving forward.

While the intervention agent will be able to act for you as an immediate solution, it is unlikely that this is a long-term solution.

When you have decided on your new law firm, contact the intervention agent to advise them of your decision and where they are to send the relevant documents.

But I’ve already started proceedings!

Don’t worry, there are exceptional circumstances that the intervention agent can support you with. For example if you were due to complete the sale or purchase of a property within a day or two, the agent will be able to help you.

We’re here to help you understand the next steps and what you need to consider when looking for a new law firm. If you would like to chat through your options, please give us a call on 0333 444 4422 or drop us a line to info@tbilaw.co.uk  

To find out more about the SRA and the process of a solicitors’ firm closure, visit their website here: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/faqs/faqs-for-consumers/#solicitorsclosed