Conveyancer sued for £4.6m

A conveyancer is now being sued by a former client for £4.6m, eight years after the working relationship had concluded.

Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring bought a mews house in Kensington, London in 2012 and planned to convert it into a residential property with a double basement and swimming pool. The property was previously used as an office.

The local authority rejected some of the planning applications at the time. However in 2018, Ms Lisle-Mainwaring won consent to use the property for residential use. But only with some of her basement plans.

She claims that she is £4.6m out of pocket due to increased building costs, legal fees and she’s unable to build a double basement.

As a result of this Ms Lisle-Mainwaring is suing her former legal representatives, saying that the firm – Charles Russell Speechlys – should have warned her that she wouldn’t get the full consent of planning permission at the time she purchased the property.

The firm denies negligence, saying the buyer knew it was a “big gamble” buying a property without residential consent.

A lawyer representing the firm told the Evening Standard newspaper:

“The claimant is a wealthy and intelligent woman, possessed of fierce independence of mind, extraordinary determination and considerable experience both of the English planning system and of litigation.”

Ms Lisle-Mainwaring’s barrister, in a written submission to the court, says:

“Had [she] been properly advised by the firm, she would either have aborted her purchase of the property straight away or she would have obtained specialist planning advice and then aborted her purchase of the property.”

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