16 reviews (3/5) and information for Healys LLP, Brighton

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3.5 stars average for Healys LLP from 16 reviews  
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8-9 Old Steine, Brighton, Sussex, BN1 1EJ

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Languages spoken English, French, Gaelic (Irish), German, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu 
Size of firm 10 solicitors


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Reviews

3.5 stars average for Healys LLP from 16 reviews

Based on 16 review(s)

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Summary

5 stars   6
4 stars   0
3 stars   0
2 stars   0
1 stars   5

Legal services at this branch

  • Advocacy
  • Children
  • Clinical negligence
  • Commercial litigation
  • Commercial property
  • Company and commercial
  • Construction
  • Consumer
  • Conveyancing - residential
  • Corporate finance
  • Crime - general
  • Cross-border
  • Debt and bankruptcy - personal
  • Debt recovery
  • Defamation
  • Dispute resolution - civil mediation
  • Dispute resolution - commercial mediation
  • Employment
  • European Community law
  • Family - general
  • Immigration - asylum
  • Immigration - general
  • Immigration - nationality and citizenship
  • Information Technology
  • Insolvency and restructuring - business
  • Insurance
  • Landlord and tenant - residential
  • Licensing gaming and betting
  • Litigation - general
  • Media
  • entertainment and sport
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Neighbour disputes
  • Personal injury
  • Planning
  • Private client - Probate
  • Private client - trusts
  • Private client - Wills
  • Professional negligence
  • Tax
  • Travel and tourism


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Healys LLP

Will and probate

1 stars

18/11/20 - Reviewed by Anonymous

Awful service from Christina Spencer. Ridiculous charges and arrogant attitude. Absolutely not worth the money!

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Healys LLP

Conveyancing/property

5 stars

28/08/20 - Reviewed by Nick B

Excellent service from the firm in general and Lauren Fitzgerald, one of the Real Estate partners, in particular. Gave good advice regarding a relatively complex transfer of part

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Healys LLP

Conveyancing/property

5 stars

06/08/20 - Reviewed by Claire Rowse

Lauren Fitzgerald was amazing, everything you’d want from a solicitor and more! Very contactable, efficient, understanding and did a great job, I now wouldn’t use anyone else!

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Healys LLP

Conveyancing/property

5 stars

02/09/19 - Reviewed by Doug Lewin

Excellent level of service provided throughout two matters that we instructed Heals on. Very professional, excellent availability, and good guidance provided. Both Kate and Freya helped us immensely and we are using them on another transaction and have recommended them to our son. Very impressed with everything and cost was as agreed at the outset.

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Healys LLP

Family

1 stars

27/09/18 - Reviewed by Anonymous

Awful service by Catherine Taylor - my compliant was dismissed and shortly after I notice she has left the company, yet I was told her advice was correct, I think not. She caused me a lot of financial damage.

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Compiled from data from the Legal Ombudsman website

16/07/18

Outcome: Failure to progress
To pay compensation for emotional impact and/or disruption caused, To refund fees already paid

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Compiled from data from the Legal Ombudsman website

16/07/18

Outcome: Failure to progress
To pay compensation for emotional impact and/or disruption caused, To refund fees already paid

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Compiled from data from the Legal Ombudsman website

06/11/17

Outcome: Costs information deficient
To refund fees already paid

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Compiled from data from the Legal Ombudsman website

06/11/17

Outcome: Costs information deficient
To refund fees already paid

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Healys LLP

General Legal advice

1 stars

11/01/17 - Reviewed by Anonymous

I have found this firm of solicitors to be rude, very bad at communicating and unprofessional on several occasions. There are lots of great family law firms in Brighton. This, in my opinion, is not one of them.

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Compiled from data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority website

08/11/16

Source: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/solicitor-check/099476.article?Decision=2016-11-08

Outcome: Regulatory settlement agreement
This outcome was reached by SRA decision.

Decision details
1. John Andrew Healy agrees to the following outcome of the investigation into his professional conduct under reference LL/1094909-2013 and AI/1062720-2013.

Background
2. On 14 February 2013, the Forensic Investigation Department ("FI") of the Solicitors Regulation Authority ("SRA") carried out an inspection of Healys Solicitors LLP ("the firm") books of account and other documents. A Report dated 17 May 2013 ("the Report") was produced.

3. During the course of the inspection, the firm provided details of conveyancing transactions where Stamp Duty Land Tax ("SDLT") mitigation or avoidance schemes were utilised by the firm's clients.

4. The promoters of the scheme were Inventive Tax Strategies ("ITS") and its associated companies "Professional Advice Bureau ("PAB") and Sterling Tax Strategies Limited ("STS"). The firm also used Denning Legal Tax Planning Limited, iTax Consulting Limited, DJ Colom Chartered Accountants and Cornerstone International Advisory Services Limited (BVI).

5. During the period from 21 December 2011 to 28 February 2013, the firm had undertaken 96 conveyancing transactions where clients had been a party to such a scheme. This resulted in at least ?2,832,619.91 SDLT being avoided. The firm subsequently confirmed that they had identified 158 transactions where a SDLT scheme was used. The firm was also instructed to act for the mortgage provider ("the lender client(s)") in 89 transactions.

6. The firm received, in addition to its usual conveyancing fee, amounts from promoters (usually ?600.00 per transaction including VAT) of at least ?52,000.00 in total (including VAT) for implementing the schemes. The firm states that when the total of 158 cases are taken into account, the amount received from promoters was no more than 1% of the firms total revenues.

7. Various fee earners within the firm carried out the schemes. Mr Healy was the head of the residential conveyancing department at the relevant time and was ultimately responsible for decisions on whether and if so, the manner in which, the schemes were implemented at the firm.

8. The firm dealt with the following schemes:

"Crystal Scheme" (Conditional contract) ? 61 transactions;
Option Scheme ? 22 transaction;
"3S Scheme" (a suspended sub sale scheme) ? 10 transactions; and
Trust sub sale scheme ? 3 transactions
The major schemes used
Crystal scheme
9. The buyer buys the property and immediately after completion would exchange contracts with an off shore company for a nominal consideration, with completion date stated to be in 124 years.

Option Scheme
10. The option scheme was similar. The buyers buy the property, and immediately after completion grant, for ?1, an option to an offshore company to buy the property exercisable for 24 years, but for market value.

3S scheme
11. The 3S scheme was similar but involved three stages. The buyer would contract with the seller in the usual way and before completion enters into a second contract with a nominee for a consideration usually of 0.43% of the purchase price with completion of this second contract stated to be in 124 years time. The nominee in turn would enter into a third contract with a partnership (in which the purchasers are the partners) for a nominal sum. The third contract would assign all of the rights under the second contract to the partnership at the point of its completion in 124 years? time.

Trust sub sale scheme
12. The buyer and seller would exchange in the normal way. Two discretionary trusts were created prior to completion. The buyer was a beneficiary of the trusts with professional trustees used.

13. The buyer would enter into a contract, described as a sub sale, with the trustee of the first trust by which the property was contracted to be sold in 124 years. On completion with the seller, the buyer would simultaneously exchange contracts on the sub sale with the trustee providing the consideration (the buyer having already provided the consideration to the trustee). Following completion of the primary purchase, the trustee would exchange contracts to sell the property to the second trust (the buyer being a beneficiary), with completion only to be effective on completion of the first contract in 124 years time.

Use of the schemes
14. The principal aim was not only to convey title but also to enable the purchaser client to either avoid or minimise paying SDLT.

15. Under the relevant scheme methodology the second contract (and in the case of 3S and the Trust sub sale schemes, the second and third contracts) would be left in abeyance and would not be registered against the title. Other terms included that third party interests were subject to any legal charge in favour of lenders.

16. The intention of the subsequent contracts in the above schemes (and also in the trust sub sale scheme) was to permanently delay the effect of the s75A Finance Act 2003 and so the buyers would not need to pay SDLT. Under scheme methodology the consideration given which was relevant to the calculation of stamp duty was the consideration given at the first stage of each scheme, which would be below stamp duty levels.

17. HMRC issued technical newsletters in August 2007 and June 2010, which demonstrated that HMRC did not consider SDLT schemes to be legitimate tax avoidance schemes especially since the introduction of anti-avoidance legislation in December 2006.

Failure to act in lender clients' best interests
18. The firm had an obligation to disclose to their clients (both purchaser and lender) all information material to the matter.

19. Of the 96 conveyancing transactions referred to the Report, in which the firm acted, 89 involved mortgages with the firm acting for both the purchaser and lender clients.

20. Until 16 April 2013, unless the lender's terms made a specific request, the firm did not tell the lenders that the purchaser client was using a SDLT scheme to avoid paying stamp duty land tax and nor did it tell the lenders how the transactions were structured.

21. Therefore the firm did not give material information to the lenders which enabled them to reach an informed decision as to whether to proceed with the mortgage offer or renegotiate terms.

22. In failing to disclose material information, Mr Healy failed to ensure that the firm acted in the best interests of their lender clients.

Conflict of interests
23. Mr Healy allowed the firm to act where there was a conflict between the interests of the lenders and buyers in those transactions involving a mortgage. A conflict or significant risk of conflict existed between the lenders and buyers because the firm owed separate duties to act in the best interests of both the lenders and buyers in relation to the same transactions.

Admissions
24. Mr Healy makes, and the SRA accepts the following admissions:

He failed to ensure disclosure of material information to lender clients, and in so doing failed to act in clients? best interests and breached Principles 4 and 5 of the SRA Principles 2011 and failed to achieve Outcomes O (1.2) and O (4.2) of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
He allowed the firm to act in transactions where there was a conflict or a significant risk of a conflict between the interests of two or more clients and breached Principles 4 and 5 of the SRA Principles 2011 and failed to achieve Outcome O (3.5) of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
Mitigation
25. Mr Healy puts forward the following by way of mitigation for the breaches outlined below:

When the total of 158 cases are taken into account, the amount received from promoters was not more than 1% of the firm's total revenues;
To the best of his knowledge, HMRC has not formally challenged any of these schemes in the First Tier tax Tribunal but brought in retrospective legislation;
The firm considered whether the schemes should have been disclosed to lenders and concluded that there was no risk to lenders at any time or to the perfection of lenders? security;
Few cases had been conducted prior to the SRA?s Warning Notice issued in February 2012. After the Notice, the firm carefully and robustly considered whether they could continue to implement the schemes and decided they could without notifying lenders;
In around July 2012, the firm reviewed an advice from two leading regulatory Queens Counsel around regulatory obligations in relation to the schemes which they considered supported the view that there was no need to disclose the use of the schemes to lenders. The firm began to attach an Addendum to their client care information to buyer clients from this time;
Subsequently, the firm sought advice from the Council of Mortgage Lenders who confirmed on 11 June 2013 that lenders? chief concerns were to ensure good title and that their security was not affected, that if the effect of a scheme is to alter or reduce the price then this must be reported under existing provisions, and that solicitors should consider if there is a need to report under 5.3 of the Handbook (conflict of interest provision); The CML?s response also stated that ?You may consider that the safest course is to raise it with the individual lender involved in lending on such transactions in the interest of transparency, even where you believe there is no impact on the lender?.
Once the SRA's Investigating Officer confirmed his view that the schemes should be disclosed to lenders, the firm duly began to do so from 16 April 2013 onwards, after seeking the consent of their buyer clients to do so;
Following the confirmation at g) above the firm identified that in less than 50% of cases lenders said the firm could not proceed with their mortgage. In these cases, the firm explained this to their purchaser clients and did not proceed on this basis. The firm ceased implementing any schemes shortly after this. It no longer implements the Crystal, Option, 3S or Trust sub sale schemes, or any other schemes involving SDLT mitigation/avoidance referred to in the Report;
The Investigating Officer acknowledged in March 2013 that the firm did not operate the schemes to the detriment of borrower clients but he was concerned as to the lack of information provided to the lender clients;
The firm considers that it did not have a reckless disregard for the interests of lender clients and believes that it has an excellent risk management reputation evidenced, for example, by a successful Lexcel assessment in January 2014.
Regulatory Outcome
Mr Healy is fined ?1,500 for the breaches identified at paragraph 24 above.

Mr Healy agrees to pay the costs of the SRA in the sum of ?14,005.80 inclusive of VAT and disbursements within 28 days of a statement of costs being issued by the SRA.

This Regulatory Settlement Agreement will be published by the SRA and may be disclosed by the SRA as it sees fit or may be disclosed to any person upon request otherwise.

Mr Healy agrees that he will not act in any way inconsistent with this agreement by, for example, by denying the misconduct set out in paragraph 24 above.

If Mr Healy acts in any way inconsistent with this agreement, he accepts that the issues may be referred back to the SRA for consideration or referral of their conduct to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on the original facts and allegations and also on the basis that a failure to comply with this agreement may constitute a breach of Principles 2, 6 and 7 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

The date of this agreement is 8 November 2016.

John Andrew Healy

David Nix

Interim Director of Legal Enforcement

Solicitors Regulation Authority

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Healys LLP

Commercial

1 stars

17/02/14 - Reviewed by Anonymous

Poor service from the Insolvency lawyer.

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Healys LLP

Commercial

1 stars

17/02/14 - Reviewed by Anonymous

Poor service from the Insolvency lawyer.

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Healys LLP

General Legal advice

5 stars

18/04/11 - Reviewed by Sidney Lilley, Hove

I cannot thank Daniela Catuara enough for her efforts on my behalf over the past year or so. My Partner had used the services of Nicholas Taylor a few years ago and was very pleased with Healys' service, which is why I approached them.

I came to Daniela early in 2010 with a dispute that had lasted for about 3 years, first as an LVT action against a leaseholder and then as a professional negligence claim against two separate firms of surveyors who had acted for me. At that time I had a strong sense of being let down by professional firms and this included another firm of lawyers whose service left a lot to be desired. The thing that struck me about Daniela from the outset was the speed with which she dealt with communications. In 40 odd years experience of dealing with solicitors I have never met anyone else so quick and efficient. In dealing with the solicitors on the other side she was always like a dog with a bone, never giving them any peace, and constantly harrying them until she got an answer.

Allied to this speed of action, was her sound advice both legal and commercial. As the case progressed I became more and more confident that I might eventually obtain justice and recover some of the money that I had lost. When I was offered by Healys a no win no fee agreement that was a great relief because for me it was the end of writing out cheques without knowing the outcome. In the end my case never came to Court, as it was settled with the good offices of a mediator all of which was organized by Daniela, and I walked away with a better settlement than I had ever expected.

Thank you Daniela, for all your hard work, your understanding, your effort and determination on my behalf and finally for orchestrating a real victory. You have also restored my faith that the law and justice can come together”

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Healys LLP

General Legal advice

5 stars

18/04/11 - Reviewed by John Kennedy

I am ever so grateful to Robert Johnson and also Kerry Mclean for assisting me in this unusual and difficult case, I was updated regurarly and by email and telephone, important documents were hardcopied by post, I would highly reccommend Healys to anyone in need of Solicitors and I intend to continue to instruct Healys in the future. Thank You Healys."

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Healys LLP

General Legal advice

5 stars

18/04/11 - Reviewed by Anonymous

Approached Healys after having struggled with a difficult litigation situation for some time. Robert grasped all of the issues in no time and set to work, applying his sharp mind and deep knowledge of legal issues, enhancing my own case and importantly providing peace of mind. Having dealt with a number of legal professionals on this case, I found Robert to be head and shoulders above the rest and would not hesitate in recommending him."

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