We are often instructed to advise firms how they can properly proceed when they have been offered client files ‘for sale’ by firms which are closing, or in many cases, administrators on their behalf, much as they might sell the stock of a corner shop; in so doing, they have scant regard for the solicitor‐client relationship, their duties of confidentiality and data protection obligations – to say nothing of the fact that the major part of each file belongs to the client, not the law firm, which has no title to sell.

Our concerns have been confirmed (if there were ever any doubt): transfer‐ ring files without consent was an issue in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal judgment on an agreed outcome in Majid 1189‐2018 which led to a six month suspension and substantial costs. This follows last year’s £40,000 fine plus £26,000 costs by the SRA on a different practice for inspecting confidential files of another firm without the knowledge or consent of the relevant clients.

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