Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED October 14, 2003

A defendant had received payments from a solicitors firm's client account where there were no such funds standing to his credit and therefore was ordered to repay the amounts so paid.Claim by the Law Society ('C') to recover from the defendant ('D') amounts paid out of the client account of a solicitors firm ('the firm') to D for his benefit to which he was not entitled. D subsequently joined the firm as Part 20 defendant seeking inter alia damages for the firm's alleged negligence as a result of breaching its retainer in wrongfully paying the funds to D. Under s.35 Solicitors Act 1974, C intervened in the firm following which the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors deemed that all sums held by the firm were vested in C. C argued that sums were paid out of the firm's client account to D for his benefit when there were no sums or insufficient sums standing to his credit.HELD: (1) C had established that most of the payments, amounting to ?243,049.48, had been paid to D for his benefit when there were no such funds in the firm's client account and he was not entitled to be paid those amounts. Accordingly a personal order for payment was made against D. (2) D had authorised all payments to be made to him. There was no basis on which his claim could succeed and therefore his Part 20 claim would be dismissed.Judgment accordingly.