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22 February 2018 | Comment | Article by Neil Stockdale

A firm of solicitors involved in the purchase of store pods has been closed down by SRA on suspicion of ‘dishonesty’


The Hetherington Partnership Limited has been closed down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) after an investigation which led to concerns about the firm’s professional conduct. This is known as an ‘intervention’ by the SRA. This is a measure taken to protect the interests of clients and the public and it means that the firm is no longer active and able to act on behalf of its clients.

The intervention has been challenged but for the time being all of the papers and monies held by the firm at the time of intervention is now in the possession of the SRA and its appointed agent.

The Hetherington Partnership, managed by Clem Hetherington and Margaret Hetherington, acted as the conveyancer for different SIPP companies in relation to the purchase of store pods and parking spaces from Store First Limited.

The intervention, however, is not related to the firm’s work in respect of Store First. The official reasons the SRA has given for closing down the firm are a ‘suspicion of dishonesty’ on the part of the firm’s managers in relation to the firm’s business; and, further, a failure to comply with SRA principles. There is no definitive proof of the firm’s misconduct for now but the SRA has clearly seen enough evidence to be concerned.

Most investors who have transferred funds to Store First have received a notice informing them of the above from the SRA’s agent, John Owen of Gordons LLP, advising them that they might be eligible for compensation in the event that their monies has been stolen by the firm, or if the firm has been paid but has failed to account for the monies.

We have seen nothing to suggest that Store First investors would be eligible for such compensation as the monies in such transfers are usually sent to Store First and not held by the conveyancer. However, if you have invested in Store First trough a SIPP you might still be eligible for compensation in respect of a claim against your financial advisors or your SIPP provider. Hugh James is currently acting in a group litigation against the SIPP provider and operator, Berkeley Burke on behalf of individuals who have invested in storage pods. Please visit our Financial Mis-Selling page for more information.

Author bio

Neil is head of the firm’s group actions and financial mis-selling teams, specialising in handling claims for financial mis-selling relating to energy contracts, pensions, investments and timeshares.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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