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Chris Maddison comments on Law Gazette article

Article: Conveyancer held liable for rogue client 


This latest decision on a fraudulent transaction similar to the Max and Penny Hastings transaction in 2015 (where Penny Hastings was informed, after the event, that her £1.3million house in West London had been sold without her knowledge, by someone who had impersonated her).

In both of these transactions, despite completion purportedly occurring, the buyers were never registered as the legal proprietors of the property they bought.

The decision of this recent case was that both defendants (one a firm of Solicitors (A’Court & Co) acting for the, supposed, seller (Mr Dawson) and the other a firm of Licensed Conveyancers (House Owners Conveyancers) acting for the buyer of 35 Merton Hall Gardens) were held equally responsible for the buyer’s loss (approximately £470,000.00).

In my opinion this case will be a landmark judgment and serves as a warning to those professionals with a ‘tick box mentality’; without really considering the individual aspects of the case at hand, whether you are acting for the seller or the buyer.  There are certain enquiries that should be made prior to contract and if carried out with due diligence should avoid this sort of fraudulent activity.

Stay vigilant, or let us be vigilant on your behalf.