Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Law firm probe clients contacted

All sales due to go ahead have been frozen by the SRA

Letters are being sent to clients of a firm of solicitors which was shut down in an investigation into claims of dishonesty and account irregularities.

Wolstenholmes, based in Stockport in Greater Manchester, is being investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The action was taken after more than 100 clients said they had lost money.

Anyone who has been affected by the investigation could be entitled to compensation, the SRA said.

Many of the complaints were from customers who had been using the firm to help them buy and sell their homes.

The SRA said it had appointed an agent to contact all clients with "live files" with the firm.

Compensation claims

Letters explaining why the SRA has intervened, what it means for clients and what is going to happen next are being sent out.

It asks clients to come forward if they feel they had money with the practice because they may be eligible for compensation, an SRA spokeswoman said.

Solicitors Imran Hussain, Helen Murgatroyd, Bobby Shabbir, Bilal Khawaja and Nasser Ilyas had their certificates to practice suspended on 24 and 27 December.

"The grounds for the intervention were suspected dishonesty and breaches of the Solicitors Accounts and Practice Rules," an SRA spokesperson said last week.

"The intervention is not punitive, it is about protecting the public and safeguarding funds."

One of those suspended, Mr Hussain, contacted the BBC to apologise for the situation and for distress caused to customers.

He said he had worked 17-hour days in a bid to ensure sales went through and denied any wrongdoing.

Print Sponsor

Dishonesty probe closes law firm
31 Dec 09 |  Manchester

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific