Claim your money and papers from us
If you need this guidance in a language other than English or in alternative formats, please contact us and we will provide it for you. If you need extra help with making a claim we will work with someone who has your permission to represent you, such as a new solicitor or legal advisor, or a member of Citizens Advice or other support agency.
However,it is possible we will hold your money and files if the agent has been unable to identify who they belong to. If you think the firm has not accounted to you for money you have given it, or if you are seeking your papers, please contact us.
If you think a firm has not accounted to you for money, you may make a claim from the Compensation Fund. This is a discretionary fund, and we will make a decision about whether we think you are entitled to a grant from it. Help and guidance is provided below. If you need more help, you can contact us.
Help and guidance
- Can we help you?
- Completing and returning the application form
- How we will handle your claim
- Claiming back money relating to conveyancing transactions, such as
- Claiming back money relating to estates of the deceased, or trust funds
- Claiming back money relating to general client losses, and
- Claiming back money for unpaid professional fees
Can we help you?
We may be able to help you if the loss occurred during the normal work of a person or firm regulated by us, and you must
- have suffered loss because of their dishonesty, or
- have suffered loss and hardship due to their failure to account for money they have received.
You do not need to be a client or a former client.
Who can apply to the Compensation Fund?
You can apply to the Fund if you are:
- an individual
- a business, company or association with a turnover of less than £2 million
- a charity with an annual income of less than £2 million unless you can show that the beneficiaries will suffer hardship
- a trustee of a trust with an asset value of less than £2 million unless you can show that the beneficiaries will suffer hardship
We will decide whether you are eligible to make a claim. In doing so, we will make a broad estimate of the financial amounts to determine eligibility if such information is not available.
"Failure to account" includes failure by a regulated person or firm to finish work for which they have been paid.
You may be asked to provide evidence of hardship.
You are not automatically entitled to a grant out of the fund.
We will not make a grant resulting in you receiving more than £2 million.
Where the solicitor didn’t complete the work when buying your home
If you had asked your solicitor to deal with buying your home for you and he had failed to pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax, land registry fees or didn’t complete the work you had paid him for, we will normally pay £280 plus VAT for the work to be finished by your new solicitor. We may pay more than that if is a leasehold property or more work had to be done because for example, the papers were lost. We can also pay your new solicitors fees for making a claim to the Compensation Fund, normally £140 plus VAT.
Costs for making a claim to the Compensation Fund in other cases
Claims to the Compensation Fund are generally straightforward to deal with. If we pay your claim, we will also normally pay either the whole or part of your new solicitors fees if the work was necessary in making a claim. We will not normally pay more than £170 per hour. We will pay the fees that we think is reasonable, it may not be for the full amount that your new solicitor may charge and you may have to make up the difference yourself. If you are worried about this please discuss it with your solicitor.
If we refuse your claim we cannot pay your new solicitors fees.
If you want more information please contact us.
How to make a claim—what you need to do
To make a claim, first have a read through our guidance via the links above. You may need to contact us to find out more about your eligibility to make a claim, or to reclaim papers relating to your claim.
How we will handle your claim
After you have completed and returned the application form and supporting evidence to us, we will assess your claim to see if we may be able to help you. If we are unable to do so we will let you know, otherwise we will deal with your claim as quickly as possible. Sometimes issues are complex and may take time to consider.
We will decide whether to make a payment and inform you of our decision.
If we refuse to pay you or pay you less than you have claimed, we will write to you and tell you why. You can appeal against our decision. In such cases, we will not pay any grant until the appeal period has expired. If you appeal, we will wait until your appeal has been decided and then pay any grant awarded on appeal.
We aim to provide the highest standards when processing your claims; however, if you feel that we have not lived up to the terms of the customer charter, you can complain to us.
Please use www.sra.org.uk/claim to link to this page.