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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 32939
Experience:  Award winning lawyer with over 15 years experience
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I own a piece of land with two covenants on it restricting

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I own a piece of land with two covenants on it restricting its use to garden land. I wish to build on it and the planners have no objection. In late 2008 I engaged my solicitor to negotiate with the owners of the two adjacent properties who held the covenants, in order to gain a release. On march 9th 2009 we had reached agreement with both parties for a release for £1000 each plus their legal costs. My solicitor then did nothing despite my requests. In May 2010 I saw that both parties had their houses on the market and I urged my solicitor to conclude the releases. He did not respond to any of my letters and in Jan 2011 I appealed to the senior partner for help. He promised to help get the process back on track. In March 2011 one of the parties sold and moved, the second party increased his demand to £5000. In the end we settled at £4250 and my solicitor finally completed the release in April 2013.

I paid my bill and formally complained to him asking him to put me back in the position I would have been in in 2009 if he had done the work properly. I had no answer and when I contacted the firm in June they said they had no record of my letter (or cheque -which had not been cashed). I issued another cheque and another partner agreed to look into my complaint. I have heard nothing from them since. What do I do now?
Thanks for your question. Please remember to rate once you get my answer.

You have a couple of options. Instruct a new firm to bring a claim against them in negligence and/or breach if contract. The other option is to a raise a complaint against the firm to the Legal Ombudsman who can award you compensation and investigate the firm.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My aim is to have both covenants released for the original cost of £2000 + legal costs. I don't know what the successor in title of the second party will settle for, but she knows that the starting figure for negotiations is £4250 and she may well go higher. At a minimum I am going to have to pay £6500 more than originally agreed but the final figure is yet to be determined. Will the legal ombudsman order enough compensation to cover what is as yet an indeterminate figure, or is bringing a claim for negligence a better route. Or, do I have to adopt a tandem approach of instructing a new firm to bring a claim whilst establishing the final cost by negotiating with the second party's successor in title. Finally, with regard to instructing a new firm - will another high street firm do, or is this a task for a more specialist firm. If so where do I look?

It would be better to bring a negligence claim. There are specialist lawyers who do professional negligence. You should be able to find a local one via the Law's Society's website.
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