Why do firms close?
There are two main reasons why a firm may close. The firm may plan to close, or we may intervene and close a firm.
Planned firm closure
The owners of a firm may decide to close their firm, for example, due to retirement or illness. We would expect the firm to contact you before it closes to let you know how the closure will affect you. If the firm cannot finish your case, they may need to find another firm to take over your work.
If a firm has closed and you have questions that the firm has not answered, you can contact us at email@example.com.
We intervene and close a firm
We may have to intervene and close a firm. We would only do this if it was necessary to protect you and other members of the public.
We may intervene and close a firm for several reasons, for example:
• We suspect that someone at the firm has behaved dishonestly.
• Where there is only one person authorised to carry out legal work at the firm and he/she has been made bankrupt, sent to prison or his/her authorisation is taken away.
• The firm has been abandoned.
• There has been a serious failure to follow the CILEx Code of Conduct or the rules for accounting for money.
When we close a firm, it cannot carry out any further work for you. We arrange for another firm (known as an intervention agent) to take control of the firm’s:
• case files, and papers that belong to clients, and
• accounting records.
The role of an intervention agent is only to manage access to case files and to reconcile the monies held by the firm.
How will you know we have closed your firm?
The intervention agent will aim to contact you to let you know that your firm has been closed. If you have any questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should you do?
If we close a firm, and your case is ongoing, you will need to instruct another firm to carry out your legal work. You should contact the intervention agent and ask them to pass on your case file and papers to the new firm you have arranged to take your case.
If your case is urgent (for example, your house sale or purchase is due to take place, or you have a court hearing, on the day we close your firm or the next day) the intervention agent will arrange for this urgent work to be done for you.
What happens to your money after we close a firm?
We take control of any money which the firm is holding, including clients’ money.
There will be a process where the money is checked against the financial records of the firm to work out who it belongs to.
If you urgently need money that you have paid to the closed firm, you can contact us at email@example.com.
Documents and Papers
We aim to contact owners of documents or papers held by the firm (for example a will or court papers) so they can be returned to you.