Conveyancer accuses regulatory body

Roger Pearson reports on a conveyancer with grievances against his regulating body, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is on course for a High Court confrontation with conveyancer Bryan Thompson, of Rowlands Castle, Hampshire.

Thompson, who is represented by London firm Marks Miller & Co, is claiming damages in respect of income he says he lost, and in respect of damage to his reputation and business, which occurred after the CLC intervened in his practice.

He claims that after the intervention, the only way he could maintain his livelihood was by arranging for his practice to be subsumed into a solicitors' practice. He is now suing the council for ordinary and aggravated damages and is also suing Chartwell Underwriting over the withdrawal of his insurance.

The case centres on allegations relating to a self-employed colleague who worked with Thompson and who was arrested in connection with – but later cleared of – mortgage fraud. The writ in the case says that after the colleague, Julie Collins, was arrested, CLC director Vivienne Eden ordered an inspection of Thompson's practice books. It says the inspection revealed nothing that indicated the need for any action by the council.

Thompson at first refused to suspend Collins, although he did suspend her later. But following his admitted failure to notify the CLC that she had been charged with fraud, the CLC intervened in his practice. Thompson claims the CLC had no power to require him to suspend Collins in the first place and alleges that the true reason for the intervention in his practice was annoyance at his initial refusal to agree to the council's demand that he suspend her.

He accuses the CLC of wrongly intervening in his practice, refusing him a licence, telling many lending institutions and others that he was not a licensed conveyancer, and publishing a press notice to this effect.

The High Court has already judicially reviewed and quashed the CLC's decision to intervene in Thompson's practice. However, Thompson claims that since the intervention, he has been prevented from practising as a licensed conveyancer. He is claiming damages for loss of monies, loss of reputation and loss of business.

His claim against Chartwell involves the underwriter's withdrawal of insurance indemnity on the basis that he had failed to inform it of the allegations against Collins.