Waheed Rahman of Legal Companion Solicitors was taken to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
He was found to have taken advantage of the client and failed to act in their best interests, demanding a payment of almost £4,500 for additional work having previously quoted just £190.
The Tribunal heard that Rahman had been a solicitor for 10 years, and was acting for a client on a transfer of equity and a remortgage on the same property.
It was told that he spotted an error made by the conveyancing firm acting on behalf of the building society over the registration of the property, putting in his own priority search which “prevented them from registering anything while that search’s priority remained”. He then invoiced the conveyancers for the significant legal fees.
Rahman, who represented himself, argued that he had done nothing wrong and pointed out that the conveyancer had made other mistakes in the build-up to completion, suggesting that he was acting in his client’s best interests.
However, the Tribunal found that Rahman had failed in his duty to “take all reasonable steps” to assist the conveyancer in registering the client’s mortgage as a first legal charge on the property, as well as levying “unjustifiable” fees which the Tribunal stated were “out of all proportion to the complexity of the issues and tasks involved”.
He was also rebuked for being “unreasonable” in threatening to refuse to work with the conveyancing firm.
Rahman was given a six month suspension, which has been suspended for two years, as well as being told to pay £15,000 in costs.