Take your Solicitor (Abogado) to court.

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30 Aug 2011 00:00 by patrick Vine Star rating in Cox, Alicante. 44 posts Send private message

Unfortunately many are suffering the consequence of bad administration on behalf of a solicitor that has been paid do a certain job, but it has not been done properly or the correct information was not given at a crucial time in a operation which has given place to disastrous consequences which at time it is almost imposable to remedy.

A typical example of this is the case of purchasing a property in which the solicitor in all his or her wisdom does the searches but does not inform the client buying the property that it was built without planning permission. The consequences of such negligence:- No right to electricity or water supply, difficulty in reselling such a property. Possibility that the property is not registered with the rates office and subsequence fines being issued by the rates office. This is the type of issue that is facing hundreds of expats in the Alicante area and in most of the rest of Spain.

You can not make compensation claim against your solicitor if he/she has done the work properly, if they have advised you accordingly or if you have lost the case for which hired them or if you have purchased a property against their advice. But when you can prove they acted without due diligence or were misleading with any other of their obligations as a lawyer, then you may have a case by which you can be compensated. 

Listed here are some of the obligations that Spanish solicitors are professionally bound to perform:- 

  • Inform you of the gravity of the situation and whether or not to go to court or proceed with a purchase as well as the chances of success or failure.
  • Inform you of the procedure, means and stages of the process and of the costs of the operation for which they have been contracted.
  •  Inform you about the legal rules applicable to the process and jurisprudence.
  • To be diligent with regard to professionalism in the contracted performance, being discreet in client relationship.
  • To be diligent in maintaining the documentation generated & requested during the process, retuning it to the customer on completion of the contracted task.

Among the many discrepancies committed by some solicitors one frequent one is lack of information given to the client creating false expectations leading to wrong decisions being made with the consequences that follow.

 So what are the steps to be taken if you have suffered loss because of the misconduct of a solicitor.

First you need to quantify the damage. How much have you lost. You need to look at the different aspects of your case, economic, emotional and health issues.

The value of a property is easy to work out but when the damage is moral it is more complicated to value because, how much is the anxiety or frustration suffered by the customer to understand that has not had access to justice worth? Or if you have suffered so much stress because you have been left in a property without electricity or water supply that your health is in demise it is more difficult to put a monetary value to this.  Indeed if the case does come to court it is the judge that that will decide the economic reach of the compensation in each case. Although the ideal is to solve the claim without a trial.

 Start the case at the School of Solicitors.

According the Spanish consumers and users organization the best is first to make a claim in the School of Solicitors(Ilustre Colegio de Abogados). Each area has one. For the Vega Baja area of Alicante there is one in Orihuela. The solicitor of the area will be enrolled at a school and is subject the rules and laws dictated by the school. A claim for compensation can be made at the school of Solicitors and I am informed that many solicitors would rather resolve the case outside of court. The School of Solicitors can also execute disciplinary action against the offending solicitor such as stopping them from working as solicitors during a determined length of time or even have them struck off the list so they are no longer able to act as solicitors. In the case that the school of Solicitors does not resolve the case that does not stop you taking the case further in the courts.

To claim through the courts, in principle, is expensive, and usually involves
hiring another lawyer. Now if you have a multi-risk home insurance it is possible that it could cover this. There is also free legal aid offered by the Spanish state for those who would struggle with the costs. If you have less than 15,000€ in your bank account then it is most likely that you could receive free legal aid to represent you through the whole process.

If the judge eventually sentences the solicitor from whom compensation is being claimed, the amount of compensation depends on the chances of a different outcome if the solicitor had acted and advised properly. (would you have purchased an illegal property with no possibility for water & electricity connection if you were advised by your solicitor not to purchase?). It is also important to seek compensation for moral & emotional damages.

 Many people who have purchased illegal property feel so fed up that they are no longer willing to take any more action. The more action take against builders, solicitors, architects that have acted illegally then they will be more mindful to be careful in the future. Taking action will make Spain a better place to live in. If we all sit back and do nothing then the fraudulent criminals will be left to take advantage again and again.

At least take the step of getting informed at the school of solicitors as what can be done.



_______________________
www.expatsolutions.wordpress.com www.inlandproperties-spain.com



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31 Aug 2011 05:35 by Susanspain Star rating in Mijas, Malaga. 127 posts Send private message

Susanspain´s avatar

'I wish' Patrick!

I wanted to sue my lawyer/ the co who provided them in an injuries claim.  But it didn't take me long to figure out it would be complicated and expensive.

I have taken my own steps to make sure that LIBERTY SEGUROS (motor policies) have been named and shamed on every forum I can. As regards the two lawyers who let me down/failed in their duty. I really could not go through the whole process again. (I did initially write to the Collegios de Abogados in Malaga where they are both registered, but go no reply and just gave up.)

If only life were simple :(

PS - (As pre warned), The Insurances Ombudsman did look into my complaint, but sided with the Insurance co saying they had worked to the letter of the law/the contract. And the only further action I could take against them was a Civil Action - which as you know would have been a whole lot more expense/no guarantee of getting anywhere....

I have tried to put the whole thing behind me, except will share my experience if it is helpful to others..

 


 



This message was last edited by Susanspain on 31/08/2011.



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31 Aug 2011 10:10 by patally Star rating. 13 posts Send private message

 Whilst Spanish solicitors are able to act on behalf of both vendor and purchaser how can a solicitor be taken to court for incompetence or misinformation, there is inevitably  going to be a conflict of interest.  Solicitors should NEVER be allowed to act for both parties in a sale/purchase negotiation.  This seems to be normal practice in Spain





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31 Aug 2011 10:22 by lyndsey1 Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

 whoa there , spanish solicitors are NOT able to act for both the buyer and the seller. conflict of interest is active in Spain!!!!

please walk right away from any lawyer who says they will do this its a breach of duty  





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31 Aug 2011 10:52 by patally Star rating. 13 posts Send private message

 I am sorry to contradict you but our solicitor has just acted on behalf of us a vendor and the purchaser.  I was told this is common practice in Spain.





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31 Aug 2011 11:12 by Keith110 Star rating in the UK and I am lead.... 660 posts Send private message

Patally

Yes it was and still is common practice in Spain, but that is why so many people now have so many problems, especially with regards to off-plan purchases.

A Lawyer acting for both seller and buyer clearly has a conflict of interest.  Who are they working for?  Whose interests come first?

With off-plan purchasers many Lawyers were recommended by the Agent or Bank and were working for both the Developer (Promotor) and the Purchaser.  There was a clear conflict of interest.  The Lawyer did not force the issue of Bank Guarantees as they were gaining most of their business from the developers, agents and banks and did not want to 'bite the hand that fed them'.

Always use an independent Lawyer with a proven track record.

Kind regards

Keith



_______________________

LEY 57/1968
CLICK HERE FOR THE BANK GUARANTEES IN SPAIN WEBSITE

       
      

fpag@btinternet.com




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31 Aug 2011 11:32 by SMYTHIE Star rating. 153 posts Send private message

 So common practice makes good practice HMMMMMMMMMMM





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31 Aug 2011 11:51 by patally Star rating. 13 posts Send private message

 In our case certainly not good practice.  We were selling a re-sale and had many many problems which have now been resolved, but not without much stress.  That is why I say that solicitors should not LEGALLY be allowed to act for both parties.  A change in that law would go a long way towards making the purchasing and selling of properties in Spain less like a minefield.  Simples!!!!





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31 Aug 2011 12:04 by Keith110 Star rating in the UK and I am lead.... 660 posts Send private message

Patally

Here is some text which forms part of our recommendations to the Spanish Government from our Bank Guarantees In Spain Petition - http://www.bankguaranteesinspain.com/text.htm

LAWYERS

Lawyers acting for a purchaser must respect the principle of independence
and must demonstrate that they have no 'conflict of interest' with the particular development, developer, promotor, agent or financial entity funding the project.

BAR ASSOCIATIONS

Bar Associations must comply diligently with their obligations and ban and punish with corresponding fines any known lack of independence by Lawyers in these matters.

These strict controls must be implemented as a matter of urgency to put an immediate end to the wholesale abuses being suffered by innocent purchasers of off-plan property in Spain.  Unscrupulous and negligent agents, lawyers, developers and banks must not be allowed to have any opportunity to abuse the inalienable rights granted by LEY 57/68 to the purchaser whose off-plan deposits MUST be
FULLY PROTECTED at ALL times.





_______________________

LEY 57/1968
CLICK HERE FOR THE BANK GUARANTEES IN SPAIN WEBSITE

       
      

fpag@btinternet.com




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31 Aug 2011 12:16 by patally Star rating. 13 posts Send private message

 What about protection for the seller when the solicitor has failed to carry out the necessary searches and made enquiries on behalf of the seller.  At the same time acting for the purchaser





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31 Aug 2011 14:48 by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1341 posts Send private message

Dear All,

is it also commonplace for Spanish lawyers to exchange contracts and pass over deposits without completion finance being in place?

assuming mortgage finance is required.

that is what Regina Flores of European Legal Solutions did in my case.

How do I find out which college to approach.

Regards

Norman

 



_______________________
N. Sands



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31 Aug 2011 16:10 by Jon07 Star rating in Sydney. 86 posts Send private message

Clearly regrettable, but begs question whether any due diligence/commonsense checks were undertaken prior to hiring allegedly incompetent Spanish lawyers ?





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31 Aug 2011 16:47 by patally Star rating. 13 posts Send private message

 It is regrettable that it is necessary to check out a lawyer's competence before engaging them.  With the extortionate fees that they charge you would expect them to carry out the necessary basic enquiries  competently.





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31 Aug 2011 16:54 by Poppyseed Star rating. 886 posts Send private message

And just how do you check out a lawyer in a foreign country where you probably don't know anyone, speak the language or know how it all works? Someone did comment (somewhere on EOS) that there were good lawyers in Spain and they knew some but didn't think it was their place to share with everyone else who these good lawyers were! What ??......what use is that on a forum  that is meant to share information and help people? As far as I know as long as the info is not self promotion or libelous it's perfectly OK to name the good guys.


 



This message was last edited by Poppyseed on 31/08/2011.

_______________________

Poppyseed




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31 Aug 2011 17:25 by Jon07 Star rating in Sydney. 86 posts Send private message

Imbecilic not to painstakingly investigate lawyers in advance &  apply rigid due deligence/commonsense. Extremely high risks for those that adopt a blase approach !!

Regardless, extremely unfortunate when any hard earned funds go up in smoke.

 

 



This message was last edited by Jon07 on 31/08/2011.



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31 Aug 2011 17:38 by Poppyseed Star rating. 886 posts Send private message

Perhaps you could give us some hints and tips of how to  painstakingly investigate lawyers in advance in a foreign country, when you probably don't speak the language or understand the procedures.



_______________________

Poppyseed




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31 Aug 2011 18:13 by Jon07 Star rating in Sydney. 86 posts Send private message

Staggered this question is posed - people like Campana, Faro, Maria etc have already commented meticiously on this.

Basic commonsense is also a prerequisite !!

No further comments from me.

Cheers,

Jon

PS: a great shame someone like Campana was not around to take poor Norman under his/her wing at the time.





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31 Aug 2011 21:17 by Poppyseed Star rating. 886 posts Send private message

Well it's a great shame Campana wouldn't share her info of who the good lawyers are.

As for this subject being covered in depth I beg to differ, of course the messages of don't use a lawyer recommended by the agent or developer has got through, as has don't use the same lawyer as the vendor and go off personal recommendation from someone you trust, BUT many many people don't know anyone else who has bought in Spain so recommendtion is not an option, if you discount the lawyers recommended by agents, developers etc then you may still be left with a long list of other lawyers. How  then do you choose? Given the level of incompentence that seems to be the norm with Spanish lawyers from where I sit it still looks like a lottery to me and generic advice of 'choose a good lawyer' is easier said than done.

 

 



_______________________

Poppyseed




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31 Aug 2011 21:17 by Poppyseed Star rating. 886 posts Send private message

Well it's a great shame Campana wouldn't share her info of who the good lawyers are.

As for this subject being covered in depth I beg to differ, of course the messages of don't use a lawyer recommended by the agent or developer has got through, as has don't use the same lawyer as the vendor and go off personal recommendation from someone you trust, BUT many many people don't know anyone else who has bought in Spain so recommendtion is not an option, if you discount the lawyers recommended by agents, developers etc then you may still be left with a long list of other lawyers. How  then do you choose? Given the level of incompentence that seems to be the norm with Spanish lawyers from where I sit it still looks like a lottery to me and generic advice of 'choose a good lawyer' is easier said than done.

 

 



_______________________

Poppyseed




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01 Sep 2011 10:50 by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1341 posts Send private message

Given that you ignore his silliness and self-recognition.........

is there any substance in his assertion that Maria and Faro have ever produced a league table of good or bad Spanish lawyers??

or even Campana perhaps?

Regards

Norman



_______________________
N. Sands



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