Law & Order
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One of the big anomalies in lifeis if you need to sign a legal document, similar to when you are buying aproperty, then you are advised to employ a solicitor. When you do the firstthing he will ask you to do is to sign an agreement, which states he is notresponsible for the advice he gives you.
Talking of buying propertyit was in the nineteen seventies when we moved to Bath in the West Country andwas living in a rented semi- detached house, my wife Jean was working for alocal bank and I was employed in Bristol, about sixteen miles away.
It was a Monday morning, and as usual I stopped halfway on the journey at a little barbers shop in a village called Longwell Green, where we had agreed to buy a semi-detached house off-plan for fifteen thousand pounds.
Next to where I was havingmy hair cut was an Estate Agent and in the window was a sign, it was for asimilar house to the one we had agreed to buy, and three thousand pounds cheaper,to its advantage it added differences of a garage and it was decorated. I knewwe had no problem with a mortgage so I made enquiries. The difficulty was itwas on the end of a chain of thirteen and the buyer for it had dropped out, sothe owners were desperate to sell but it had to be done by the followingMonday, seven days away, otherwise the chain collapsed.
After a brief visit and with the help of the bank we agreed to buy that very day.
All the searches on the house had been carried out by a solicitor employed by the previous purchaser and he was ready to complete. Easy I thought all I had to do was to instruct him and we were home and dry, so to speak.
But No. The legal manwould not act for us as he said it would be a ‘conflict of interest.’ I am notsure to whom, so off I trot to find a solicitor who would act. I won’t say helaughed when I told him it had to be completed in seven days but he was notbeing very helpful saying it would take that long to send the details by postand have a reply.
I asked him if he would be happy to deal with the other solicitor and he said that was not a drawback. I said, telephone the bank who will confirm the mortgage, type out a letter to the other law firm asking for the details and send it over in a taxi or some other means and retrieve the documents, we would then have a few days to make the changes, which again could be done by courier if need be.
We bought our new home the following Monday and lived there for twenty-five years. I would add in those days people would act on people’s word as there was trust … I cannot see that happening today as everything has to be in writing before anyone will act.