Compensation claims against the Law Society by former clients of an intervened law firm are likely to run to several million pounds
Law Society chief executive Janet Paraskeva has been drawn into the dispute and is taking a stand against almost 130 former clients of Devon-based Pitts Tucker who are accusing the Law Society of delaying its response to the compensation claims. The Law Society is responsible for issuing compensation to former clients of firms it has closed down. The applicants have staged angry meetings with Law Society agent Charles Metherell of Bevan Ashford and the Law Society's South West regional manager Mary Jacobson. The Law Society said the delays have been caused by the unexpected discovery of thousands of claims at the now defunct Pitts Tucker. A total of 108 claims by clients of Pitts Tucker, which was closed last October, have yet to be dealt with by the Law Society. A spokesman for the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) said that the claims should be dealt with in several weeks time. The Law Society has already paid out £511,117 to 16 compensation applicants, including a claim worth £250,000 from a hospice. The society's payments are drawn from levies on solicitors' earnings. While all the claims are legitimate, the OSS believes that some of the complaints against the Law Society are rooted in grudges against a former partner of Pitts Tucker, Philip Jolyon Huxtable. Of the Law Society's compensation fund workers, 40 per cent are dealing with the case, despite the total compensation in the case amounting to only 5 per cent of the Law Society's total compensation claims. An OSS spokesman said: "Stuart Bushell, deputy director of regulations, had briefings last Thursday with members of the action group [compensation applicants] to speed up the processing of claims to the compensation funds, and answer various technical questions." "Janet Paraskeva has taken personal supervision of the whole issue because we want to provide immediate remedy to the dissatisfaction in Devon. She has ordered extra resources to the compensation claims."