21 October 2020 | Comment | Article by Neil Stockdale
Allansons LLP was a firm of solicitors that acted on behalf of large numbers of clients in relation to claims against mortgage lenders for the repayment of allegedly over charged interest. They generally acted on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. Despite this, former clients of Allansons are now being threatened with possible legal charges. Hugh James has considered a number of the ‘no win no fee’ agreements on these cases and advising their clients they are not liable to pay charges.
Allansons was closed down by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (‘SRA’) in May 2019 over breaches of SRA rules. This followed a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing which resulted in Allanson’s partner, Roger Allanson, being fined £17,500 for breaches of the Solicitors Accounts Rules. Following this another legal firm, Gordons LLP, was appointed by the SRA to help with the closure of the firm as the SRA’s Intervention Agent. As part of their role Gordons collected in clients’ files for safekeeping and individuals with ongoing cases were contacted to ask where the file should be sent, in most cases that would be to their new solicitors.
In May 2020, Allansons LLP was placed into liquidation. The liquidators are William Antony Batty and Steven Illes of Antony Batty & Company LLP. Hugh James understands that the liquidators are now are contacting former clients of Allansons LLP saying that they should now instruct a firm of solicitors called Judge Sykes Frixou to continue their cases.
Hugh James understands that clients are being told that if they are not willing to continue their claims with Judge Sykes Frixou, they will have to pay Allansons’ costs as well as a fee for a report on their individual case understood to be in the region of £4,000. This seems to be the position even if individuals have already instructed another solicitor to pursue their case.
The SRA is recommending that former Allansons clients take independent legal advice and are directing clients to the Law Society as they cannot advise clients or comment on the enforceability of the Allansons contracts
Hugh James are already acting on behalf of a number of former Allansons clients whose cases were being handled on ‘no win no fee’ basis and have advised that the agreement is not enforceable and that clients are therefore not liable to pay Allanson’s fees. Hugh James has also been in contact the Law Society offering to advice clients on this issue.
By way of explanation, to be enforceable a ‘no win no fee’ must meet the requirements set out in the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (‘the Act’) and other related subordinate legislation. Having regard to these requirements Hugh James have advised former Allansons clients that the ‘no win no fee’ is simply unenforceable and that they should not therefore be liable for Allansons costs, whether or not they proceed with their claims.
Individuals with mortgage claims that were being dealt with by Allansons should be aware that there are time limits that apply to cases of this nature. As such, we would encourage you to seek advice in relation to your claim as soon as possible.
If you are a former client of Allansons we may be able to assist you with your mortgage claim and to advise you regarding your potential liability for charges. Please contact us today and a member of the financial mis-selling team will contact you for a no-obligation discussion.
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