Procedure to follow when dealing with someone impersonating a solicitor

Cocksure

Well-known Member
@Autopilot you officials you :rolleyes: ;) :rotfl: At the moment there is nothing to report to the police as lets just say that this whole thing is going in a direction I never expected! :eek:

Heeding @Rasczak excellent advice though I won't go into details :)

It turns out that there is a certain Act from 1974 that both protects and ensures the legal duties of Solicitors, and there is also an organisation called the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) who's role is basically that of Gas Safe, ie ensure lawyers follow the law whilst at the same time protecting their interests such as someone impersonating a solicitor.

Anyway, all solicitors sign up to the SRA, agree to follow there terms etc, have someone who is responsible in or outside the firm (with exception of one-man bands) to ensure that the rules are followed. In short, all solicitors know the rules extremely well (its been quite an eye-opener).

Without going into details, lets just say that my solicitor was not impressed by all the correspondent that have been made. Life really is like a box of chocolates sometimes :rolleyes:
 
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sepharad

Standard Member
It's a crime in the US to present yourself as a licensed professional to the public. Each state has it's own board of medicine, dentistry, nursing and bar association.

In the states you would report them to the bar and the local police. Insist in filing a police report. The bar is pretty aggressive as is, in my personal experience, is the nursing board. As a RN I WANT my board to aggressively to expose and prosecute fake R.N.s. They are a danger to my patients and make us look bad.

In my previous career, the Oregon State Bar was happy to hammer bad lawyers. I can't imagine they wouldn't be all over the District Attorney in their State.

Our laws and customs come from British Law, I am betting they feel the same.

Did they literally present themselves as a licensed Solicitor or a Barrister, or as a service offering legal assistance, such as providing forms and do it yourself instructions?

I WOULD report it to the police.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Reporting it to the police isn’t an option as at this stage no crime has been committed. The lawyer has come back by saying that the email was from him and his email address etc

I don’t want to go into details about the email at this stage but its bad in many ways meaning that the lawyer is either covering for his client or shouldn’t be a lawyer!

My lawyer was worried that he was overreacting (and because he is go after your own so to speak) so took it to a friend for a second opinion I found out the other day, that lawyer was equally not impressed.

As a result and now that the lawyer has claimed ownership, a letter is being drafted to the SRA for them to investigate the matter and find out the truth of it all. If the lawyer is covering then it was a foolish thing to do especially as I gave him the chance to correct his “mistake” (sure you didn’t miss understand the question, maybe you miss read the email etc), if it was from him then he shouldn’t be practicing as there are rules of conduct for a reason.
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
They impersonate the solicitor by using his name, crudely setting up an email account with his name as the address, referred to things discussed in correspondents, and worse of all copied over the legal icons and symbols used in official emails. All pretty crude, and whilst they never directly claimed to be a solicitor, what was written and done was all done for the purpose of making it appear I was talking to the actual solicitor I had had previous dealings with.

However this is not my area of law, so maybe they can argue it wasn't an impersonation. I can only give my view on how it came across to me
Maybe obvious but what are they trying to achieve do you think by impersonating the solicitor

is the email address a generic (gmail type ) or with a proper domain name ?
It might be best if he doesn't advertise that in public, at least until he knows whether the contact is fake or not. Obvious possibilities are trying to intercept a payment, which is a common conveyancing scam or attempting to pervert the course of justice in a dispute.
Based on this information, if this was done to make a gain for themselves or another or cause a loss to someone then the offence of Fraud is complete.
No fraud needs to occur, no loss or gain needs to occur, it is an offence of intent.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Thanks @shodan :smashin: an interesting post. Just out of interest, what would be the case if the client wrote the email, sent it to his lawyer who copied and pasted it over to their private email address and then sent it on pretending it was from them all along?

Not saying that is the case mind as the idea has just popped into my head! I get strange ideas:laugh:
 

ufo550

Well-known Member
Fraud by false representation has various elements to it, before it is complete.

If you think a criminal offence has been committed, as @Autopilot said, you should make a complaint to the police. I think you've said you've already done that? What was said by the police, to state that this wasn't a criminal offence?
 

paffren

Active Member
Whilst being involved in legal disputes is nothing new to me
Do you get in a lot of disputes that end up in legal action ?

what would be the case if the client wrote the email, sent it to his lawyer who copied and pasted it over to their private email address and then sent it on pretending it was from them all along?
These two statements sound contradictory. If a solicitor would indulge in such practice without a consultation he should be disbarred, it would be threatening behaviour.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Do you get in a lot of disputes that end up in legal action ?



These two statements sound contradictory. If a solicitor would indulge in such practice without a consultation he should be disbarred, it would be threatening behaviour.
It’s just a thought that came to me this morning, I have no proof of it but given the correspondence so far over the actual issue, it wouldn’t surprise me.

In regards the 1st question, well I get a personal Christmas card from the lawyer each year, can contact him out of hours and get a response double quick, so not really:rotfl:
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Fraud by false representation has various elements to it, before it is complete.

If you think a criminal offence has been committed, as @Autopilot said, you should make a complaint to the police. I think you've said you've already done that? What was said by the police, to state that this wasn't a criminal offence?
Thanks :smashin:

As to the police, the SRA will handle that, I have no proof only suspicions. The SRA have the power to seize all legal correspondence, private emails etc without needing a warrant etc, plus the investigated person has to pay all costs as well. Of course this all depends on if they think there is merit to my complaint, but if they do, then it allows them to find the proof for the police to then deal with if there is an case.

At the moment its a bit like asking the police to arrest someone with a small amount of drugs on them when they could be guilty of so much more. Patients grasshopper :laugh:

Not saying that the police couldn’t find more, but they are overworked, under staffed and under funded...
 

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