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Old Dec 10th 2017, 2:26 pm   #1
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Default Solicitor complaint

Does anyone have experience of making a complaint against a solicitor? When a solicitor who acted in a house purchase some years earlier now does not want to confirm the legality of a certain aspect for fear that the solicitor should have made the legal position clear at the outset, but didn't...is now burying their head in the sand and not responding to emails or telephone calls.....what can one do? Is there a recognized authority that one can escalate to without repercussions when a solicitor is not behaving professionally or at least simply mention to spur the solicitor into responding? Like a recognized Portuguese Legal Ombudsman who handles complaints as in the UK? I am aware of the case where a woman complained about a solicitor to the Ordem dos Avogados and instead found herself being sued in 2011 by the solicitor. The case I believe was dropped a year later at the last minute, notwithstanding the thousands spent and anxiety it caused.
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Old Dec 11th 2017, 9:02 am   #2
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Here you go:

OSAE :: PROSAE-SERVIÇOS-DE-PROVEDORIA

This is an ombudsman service for the Ordem do Solicitadores.
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Old Dec 11th 2017, 7:01 pm   #3
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

I have the same problem with my tax accountant. Sent him all my tax info for 2015 and he failed to post it.
Now I have penalties and interest to pay for being non compliant.
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Old Dec 12th 2017, 12:34 pm   #4
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Thanks for the update, but I could not access your website (from the UK).

I have since found another website that worked for me and allows online complaints
Provedor de Justiça - Uma instituição aberta aos cidadãos
(provedor = ombudsman) and follow the last para to 'aqui'

However as if my magic, the solicitor has just been in contact so the situation may well resolve. The moral is keep plugging away and keep communication very correct.
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Old Dec 12th 2017, 12:42 pm   #5
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Seems the British Expats message box translates websites badly.
Here's the website I wrote without the http & www prefix. It might work better:

provedor-jus.pt/?idc=52
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Old Dec 12th 2017, 3:25 pm   #6
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Ditto!

Try this - Copy paste the full link into a new browser window!

solicitador.net/pt/pag/OSAE/para-o-cidadao-prosae-servicos-de-provedoria/1/1/1/135
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Old Dec 12th 2017, 5:43 pm   #7
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Thanks. That now works too.
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Old Dec 20th 2017, 12:24 pm   #8
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

When buying for the first time, how do you find a lawyer who will work for you so to avoid all of the above post on lawyer problems, is it usual to encounter problems?.
As a first time buyer you do not know all the lawyers except the ones recommended by the estate agent.
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Old Dec 20th 2017, 1:16 pm   #9
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Ask here, stating where you are buying & it may be possible for some to recommend someone reputable.

Never, use one recommended by an estate agent.
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Old Dec 20th 2017, 1:35 pm   #10
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Quote:
Originally Posted by barlaventoexpert View Post
Ask here, stating where you are buying & it may be possible for some to recommend someone reputable.

Never, use one recommended by an estate agent.
Two very good pieces of advice there!
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Old Dec 20th 2017, 10:21 pm   #11
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

The key advice is NOT to choose a solicitor recommended by the Estate agent. Reason being is that if they do then there's likely some business relationship and if that's the case the solicitor will think twice in challenging the Estate agent if there are some matters that you or the solicitor aren't happy with and/or the solicitor will believe all that the Estate agent says...which isn't good. Estate agents are professional sales people. Their goal is to sell a property with the minimum of bad news. The solicitor MUST be completely impartial to find any/all the bad news and should not think twice about challenging what is presented as correct. If you give complete trust to a solicitor (as is your choice) without challenging yourself, you may come to regret it. My advice is to challenge everything the solicitor presents to you back to a legal position and if something doesn't stack up, then you must raise it beforehand as after the sale completes, it's too late. Your gut instinct is your only line of defence. You don't have to be clever but you do have to be on your toes and do research on the process. Solicitors I feel in Portugal believe they are a cut above the rest and don't like to be challenged. You need to ensure you read and understand everything (in English, unless you're fluent Portuguese)...net act dumb until you do understand. Get a copy of the house deed wording. My next time I would go independently to the Town Hall, ask for the property file and check it matches the physical plan before the final notary signature session and inwardly digest it and make sure you understand every detail and ensure it reflects 100% what you are buying. 99% isn't always good enough. That 1% detail can blow out of all proportion after the event. Portuguese 'Searches' by the solicitor are not in my view as thorough as the UK. Check what has been received/issued in the past by the Town Hall about your property. It can be very illuminating. Your solicitor may not check or communicate this to you. Also Land Registry documentation in the UK is very mature and openly available at a cost, in Portugal it's only started to be systemised with boundary details sometimes missing. If you're buying in town then probably things are a bit more open and straightforward and unlike buying in the countryside. Good luck!
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Old Dec 21st 2017, 8:03 am   #12
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Duly noted and thanks.
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Old Dec 21st 2017, 8:32 am   #13
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodstore View Post
. Your gut instinct is your only line of defense.

While I agree with the rest of your post, I have to point out the danger of this line.

Confidence tricksters rely on this, fooling your gut is the part they're really good at. Talk to a few people who have been well and truly swindled, they all say the same thing; they were utterly convinced about the sincerity of the con artist, and therefore failed to check things that might have tipped them off.

Gut instinct is very unreliable. Get an independent expert [s], check the physical structures and the paperwork.
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Old Dec 21st 2017, 3:12 pm   #14
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Careful. I would not class lawyers as confidence tricksters. They are regulated and have to conform to rules and conduct...hence my original querie. BUT they are also humans, so can make mistakes and work by the 'time is money' motto so avoid digging the detail. Gut instinct means if you smell something is not right, you need to act. Problem is some folk have no sense of smell. Agreed I should have said 'Gut instinct is your last line of defence' !

If anyone saw last nights episode of Coronation St and witnessed Leanne being utterly conned by a professional thief....it fooled me. But then why would you tell a complete stranger your life's history? She's definitely nose blind!
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Old Dec 22nd 2017, 6:52 am   #15
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Default Re: Solicitor complaint

Agreed, but how do you find these independent professionals when you are new to a country and language?
As someone posted earlier, and it seems good advice, is to post on here so see if anyone can help.
Portugal's not that big a place I think.
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