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The right to change solicitors
We are often contacted by people asking, ‘Can I change solicitors halfway through a case?’
The short and simple answer to that question is invariably ‘yes, you can.’
We regularly take over conduct of existing legal matters in relation to:
- Personal injury
- Inheritance disputes
- Clinical negligence
- Professional negligence
So, if you are not happy with the service your current solicitor is providing and would like to change to a new one then you can do so at any time.
Things you need to consider before you change solicitors
Changing solicitors is a big step, so you need to be clear in your own mind that it is the correct thing to do.
You also need to be certain that the new solicitor is the right one for you. We would therefore recommend that you do your homework and always speak to the lawyer that will be taking over your case.
You must be clear that the change of solicitor will not have an adverse impact on the case. Where a claim is about to go to trial or contracts have been exchanged in a conveyancing transaction then a change of solicitor could prejudice your position. Where timing is sensitive then the new solicitor will need to consider whether a change is the best thing for you.
Probably the most important consideration is what effect a change of solicitors halfway through a case will have on funding.
If you are paying the legal fees on a private basis and are up to date with payments then you can move solicitors whenever you wish with very little impact on funding.
The position is similar where you are pursuing a claim that is funded by Legal Expenses Insurance. You will still be able to change solicitors and once legal proceedings have been issued your insurers cannot deny you the right to select a solicitor of your own choice.
The situation where a case is being funded on a no win, no fee basis can make it a little more complicated, but it is generally possible to change solicitors if the new solicitor agrees to make sure the old solicitor ultimately receives payment for the work they have carries out.
Reasons for someone to change solicitors
When people choose to transfer their case to us a whole range of reasons are given. These include:
- The old solicitor not being available to speak on the phone
- the old solicitor is not willing to switch the case funding to No Win, No Fee
- Lack of progress with the case
- The old solicitor retiring or the firm closing down
- Loss of confidence
The mechanics of changing solicitor
Much will depend on how far down the road you already are with the old solicitor. If it’s a case that has only just begun then it is likely to be an easy and smooth transition. Where the case has been ongoing for some time then arrangements will need to be made for the old solicitor’s files to be sent to the new solicitor. This can usually be done by you signing a Form of Authority.
Where there are outstanding professional fees then the old solicitor can exercise a ‘lien’ over your file. If you cannot arrange for their fees to be paid immediately then the new solicitor may be able to offer them a promise that they will be paid at the end of the case or some other specified date. this is known as an ‘undertaking’.
Where the old solicitor’s firm is no longer trading then another firm will be appointed to manage the transfer of files to the new solicitor.
How to change to Slee Blackwell Solicitors
If you would like to change solicitors then give us a call. We will be happy to talk matters through with you and answer any questions.
If you would like us to consider taking over the case on a No Win, No Fee basis then we will be pleased to carry out a review free of charge and tell you if this is something we can do.
We will consider whether it is in your best interests to make a change and what the implications will be.
If you decide to go ahead with the change of solicitor then we will make the necessary arrangements for the transfer to go through as smoothly as possible.
Call us on 0808 139 1606 or send an email to [email protected]