Holder v Law Society: ChD 25 Jul 2002

The applicant solicitors’ practice had been subject to an intervention by the respondent. He claimed that by intervening in his practice, his human right to enjoy his possessions without interference had been infringed.
Held: The power of intervention was necessary to balance the need to protect the public and respect for the solicitor’s rights. Whether the solicitor’s rights to free enjoyment of his possessions had been infringed was a matter of fact and degree in the particular circumstances of each case. This case was not so clear cut, and the summary judgment for the Law Society striking out the claim was set aside. The court asked about the use of powers which would destroy a soilicitor’s practice: ‘In some cases it may be necessary because it might be a necessary evil to correct a much greater one. The more interesting question is, is it always necessary. In that case I am not convinced that it can be said that an intervention in the way in which the procedure is currently permitted to be exercised, is always necessary. It follows from that analysis that if the procedure was not necessary in that way, and it resulted in the interference in the right to possession of property, the procedure itself will infringe the claimant’s human rights. I do not see that it can be said that there is no other alternative. If a report for example, is prepared along the lines of the present case there would have been no difficulty in making an appointment at short notice to go to court for an order for an intervention or some lesser order if the court thought that appropriate. There would then be an independent review and the court (like a search order or a freezing order) would act on the evidence. If the evidence was made out, there would be an independent review of the procedure. Intervention in a full blown way might be required on occasions. Alternatively the court might feel a lesser intervention (such as a receiver, a manager) would be appropriate.. . .’

Mr Justice Peter Smith
Times 09-Sep-2002, [2002] EWHC 1599 (Ch), [2003] 1 WLR 1059
England and Wales
ApprovedDooley v Law Society (2) ChD 23-Nov-2001
The respondent intervened in the claimant’s legal practice. He claimed a duty on the Law Society to administer his former practice in such a way as to maximize recovery of outstanding fees and disbursements.
Held: The Law Society had no duty . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromHolder v Law Society CA 24-Jan-2003
The Society had intervened in the applicant’s legal practice. He complained that the intervention was disproportionate, and by removing his right to enjoyment of his possession, infringed his human rights. The Society appealed the finding that an . .
CitedSheikh v The Law Society ChD 1-Jul-2005
The claimant challenged the intervention by the Law Society in her solicitors practice.
Held: Though there were some breaches of the solicitors’ accounts rules there was insufficient basis for the Society to have behaved in the way it had and . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Human Rights

Updated: 06 December 2021; Ref: scu.175056