Can I trust my Laywers

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03 Oct 2008 00:00 by porphy Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

I put down a deposit off plan in 2003 for a property that was panned to be completed in 2005. Before we put down the 30% deposit we reviewed all of the contract details with our lawyer and checked specifically that the contract referenced the Bank Guarantee.

Turn the clock forward a few years:- The property developer has gone bust and sold the developement to a family member. The new family member has run out of cash and wants more money to complete. The bank is threatening foreclosure on the development and encouraging me (and others) to complete on the unfinished property.

An ideal case for calling on your bank guarantee, I hear you say. However despite talking at length about this with the lawyer and being assured all was in order, the lawyers never actually obtained the bank guarantee.

We are now in a delicate position of trying to negotiate a deal to preferably return our deposit (not likely) or complete under terms that are more consistent with market prices and protect us from throwing good money after bad or take the existing developer to court.

There is another option which is perhaps to take the lawyers to court for negligence. Does anyone have any insight or experience on this?

In the meantime we are working with them on the other options as they know that they screwed up and that I know they did. They are very slow to repsond and I can't help feeling that my best interests are not at the top of their agenda.

Any advice please?


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31 Oct 2008 17:28 by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

Many problems here

Firstly  Spanish lawyers do pretty shoddy work despite the high fees they charge.

Secondly they are poorly regulated compared to their UK counterparts.

Thirdly Spanish lawyers have very limited professional indemnity insurance cover - and like all Spanish bank/insurance guarantees you have more chance of winning El Gordo lottery than getting a payout.

You could start by making a complaint to the Colegio with which they are registered and trying to make a claim under the limited professional indeminty insurance o which they subscribe. The complaint must be in Spanish.

Otherwise you have to consider taking a legal action but here you have a problem because most Spanish lawyers will not represent you. They don't like going against one of their own and you are extranjero. No doubt you will find some lawyer who will take a big retainer off you but do nothing.

Were the solicitors independent or recommened by agent/developer - if you are not happy with then then change ASAP!

My advice to all reading this thread is to only use dual qualified solicitors - by that I mean solicitors holding practising certificates in both Spain and UK becuase then if you do have any problems you can bring your complaint before the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the UK and make a claim under their UK professional indemnity insurance policy which will be a mimimum of GBP2m. I'm more than happy to recommend reputable dual qualified solicitors if anyone sends me a private message.

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