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NSW Lawyer Error Caused Substantial Loss - What Are My Options?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Sean Courtney, 18 December 2014.

  1. Sean Courtney

    Sean Courtney Member

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    Hello,
    A long story short, but a solicitor transferred funds from a property sale, but changed it from AUD to GBP,when it was requested to be deposited into an Australian Currency account. The account is held by a UK bank in my name. At no time did I request the solicitor to change the currency. The Australian dollar account was opened so the funds would remain in AUD. I am in the UK, and will be home in the next month. The amount I have lost is $10,000. What are my options in correcting this?

    Many Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sean,

    I assume the lawyer in question is Australian? Lawyers owe their clients a fiduciary duty which requires them to act in the best interests of you, the client. Specifically, lawyers must:
    • act honestly and fairly in a client’s best interests
    • act with due skill and diligence, reasonable promptness and courtesy
    • maintain a client’s confidences
    • avoid conflicts of interest
    • communicate effectively and promptly with clients
    • follow a client’s lawful instructions.
    In this case, it sounds as though your lawyer has not followed your instructions and as a result you have suffered significant loss. Your lawyer cannot make any decisions without your instructions and are required to give effect to your instructions promptly and efficiently.

    The Legal Profession Act 2004 also sets out rules regarding how lawyers deal with trust money (I gather the funds were held on trust by the lawyers before being distributed to your account). This act requires that a lawyer disburse trust money only as directed by the person on whose behalf it is held and of course keep accurate records of instructions etc.

    In addition, all solicitors in New South Wales are obliged to adhere to the Solicitors' Rules, which are enforced by the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner. Rule 8.1 provides that "A solicitor must follow a client’s lawful, proper and competent instructions."

    Here is where you can find more information about how to make a complaint to the Commissioner: https://www.lawsociety.com.au/ForSo...ndards/Complaints/Complaintsprocess/index.htm
     
  3. Sean Courtney

    Sean Courtney Member

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    Hello Sophea,
    Forgive the delay,am in the UK at present. Yes the solicitor is in Sydney,and the funds were held in trust. I just can not understand why they did that.A very clear and simple instruction to follow.When I get home I will go and ask them exactly what they did, and why.Thank you so much for helping out.very much appreciated.

    Kind Regards,and Merry Christmas

    Sean
     

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