Burges Salmon denies negligence claims

Burges Salmon has rebutted claims that it negligently advised agriculture clients on sub-prime mortgages.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is investigating independent complaints from farmers Geoff Bean in North Yorkshire and Pamela Ward-Jones of Barnhorne Manor Farm in East Sussex. They claim that the firm was acting for the farmers on sub-prime mortgage loans while at the same time acting for the lender, specialist agricultural group UK Group.

Burges Salmon managing partner Guy Stobart said: “Burges Salmon has a long history of offering legal advice to the agricultural community across the country and we are naturally concerned to hear of difficulties experienced by former clients.

“The firm is very clear about the regulations regarding conflicts of interest and our lawyers are fully aware of the importance of adhering to these stringent policies.

“While taking these allegations extremely seriously, in our response to the SRA we have made it clear that we do not believe that the former clients have a basis to their claims.”

According to the allegations against the firm, Burges Salmon encouraged the clients to take loans with an interest rate of 20 per cent from UK Group when they could have secured cheaper financing elsewhere.

Edwin Coe is acting for both complainants.