By Micah Lee
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) confirmed that reports of fake law firms and fake solicitors have increased by more than 125% in the last few years.
A bogus or fake law firm and/or solicitor may fall into either of these categories:
There are consequences for these firms and individuals. If they are caught, they may be liable to criminal sanctions such as, imprisonment.
The importance of regulation is to protect the public interests and consumers of legal services. They are monitored by an independent organisation to ensure compliance with the rules. For instance, the SRA regulates and monitors law firms and solicitors.
On their website, the SRA states: “There are serious and continuing risks to the public arising from the activities of criminals and criminal gangs who set up bogus law firms or bogus branch offices of genuine law firms… It is a criminal offence for someone to call themselves a solicitor or act as a solicitor if they are not on the roll of solicitors. We call these people ‘bogus solicitors’ and we may prosecute them…”
It is important to make enquiries regarding your legal matters with multiple law firms and/or solicitors. This allows you to understand what options are available to you and the variety of costs entailed. However, bogus law firms and solicitors will go the extra mile to appear legitimate. Therefore, it is easy to become a victim.
The ‘Red Flags’
There are red flags to watch out for when looking for or if you are approached by a bogus firm or solicitor, this includes:
If one or more of the above factors apply, it does not necessarily mean the firm or solicitor is bogus but may give rise to further inquiries.
If you are suspicious of a bogus law firm and/or solicitor:
(if you are based in England or Wales https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/)
(if you are based in Scotland https://www.lawscot.org.uk/find-a-solicitor/)
(if you are based in Northern Ireland https://www.lawsoc-ni.org/solicitors)
If you become a victim of a bogus law firm and/or solicitor:
It is important to remain vigilant and wary of individuals and organisations that raise these red flags. If you suspect or are a victim of one, you should raise awareness and report it to ensure it does not happen to anyone else. It is better to take practical steps to prevent this from happening than to deal with the consequences.
If you want to seek legal advice pertaining to this matter, please contact us on our website at https://www.lawyery.co/ or email us at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 020 3576 1275.