The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is concerned enough about the number of fake law firms being set up that they have issued guidance to the public. This guidance is aimed at ensuring the public are able to establish whether the law firm they choose is a genuine law firm.
A number of fake firms have been discovered recently and the SRA are concerned that potential clients may be “taken in” by these bogus firms. A new client could easily be persuaded to hand over large sums of money, especially when it comes to conveyancing matters, in return for legal services that will not be carried out.
Bogus firms are being set up in such a way that it looks like a new branch of a legitimate law firm, simply listing a business address that is a rented, empty office space. The effect this could have on potential clients could be catastrophic, in turn this could severely affect the levels of consumer confidence in conveyancers and solicitors.
The SRA have launched tips for the public in a bid to help them make sure that the firm they are looking to use is a genuine law firm.
Commenting, David Middleton, SRA Executive Director says:
"It’s a criminal offence under the Solicitors Act 1974 for anyone to call themselves a solicitor or act as a solicitor if they are not in fact authorised to practise, and we will consider prosecution if we catch anyone doing so. We’ve had a number of bogus firms in operation in recent years and while it’s not something that could be described as a spate, we still want to protect the public from falling foul of any such scams.
If someone engages a bogus firm for conveyancing work, for example, they might hand over tens of thousands of pounds, only to discover their money has been stolen. So we’ve produced this guidance and video to try to prevent that happening."
If anyone believes they are dealing with a fake firm, the SRA should be contacted immediately on 0870 6062555.
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