UK: Solicitor fined over late payment of invoice

For anybody out there who is on the end of endless solicitor invoices for huge amounts for photocopying etc and then when you try to get them to pay you for
services !

The Law Gazette

A solicitor has been fined more than £1,000 after he failed to pay an invoice for legal fees within a reasonable time frame.

James Lothian Brunton also failed to cooperate with the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s investigation into his failure to perform an undertaking to Matthew Waite & Co.

The regulator said Brunton, a solicitor at Brunton & Co (incorporating D.Emrys Williams & Co), in Ceredigion, Wales, ‘failed to perform the undertaking by not paying the seller’s legal fees within a reasonable time frame’.

An invoice for the legal fees was sent to Brunton. ‘Numerous’ attempts to contact him were made to chase payment without success. The invoice was paid more than 11 months later.

The SRA said Brunton failed to cooperate with the SRA investigation into the matter. It described his failure to cooperate as ‘serious and diminishes trust in the legal profession’. His conduct in relation to the failure to pay legal fees within a reasonable time was ‘reckless’.

Brunton ‘has shown little/no insight into his conduct,’ it said.

The SRA added: ‘Mr Brunton is an experienced solicitor, a partner at the firm. He had direct responsibility and control of his own conduct. His failure to respond and co-operate with the SRA damages the SRA’s ability to effectively regulate the profession. His failure to cooperate with the SRA persisted for five months. The public must have confidence in the regulatory process.By failing to co-operate with the investigation officer in an open, timely and co-operative manner Mr Brunton has damaged that confidence.’

The invoice has now been paid and the SRA acknowledged that Brunton ‘did not receive any financial benefit from the conduct’.

He was fined £1,183 and ordered to pay costs of £600.