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By far the worst aspect of this whole sorry saga is the disgraceful way that those solicitors have behaved who were in the pockets of the developers.

The large majority of these cases involved solicitors that were `recommended ‘(i.e. forcefully steered, sometimes with powerful financial incentives) to the buyers. Those buyers should have been able to trust the solicitors.

It turned out they couldn't, because the solicitors were so obsessed with keeping their real client (the builder) happy and the flow of lucrative production line instructions arriving that they completely abandoned their duty to their nominal clients.

I've seen a typical file where this happened. The only mention of the doubling ground rent was one line in a 3 page `report on title' that was itself written in largely incomprehensible language.

These firms should be ashamed of themselves, and I sincerely hope they do get hammered with claims to the extent of being driven out of business. They have participated in one of the most corrupt and blatant conflicts of interest I've ever seen in 35 years of practice.

Unfortunately, it seems that many will now be let off the hook by Taylor Wimpey's compensation scheme. They don't deserve to be.

Builders are expected to be corrupt and greedy. Solicitors are expected to protect clients from the corrupt and greedy, not join in with them to help fleece the client.

The SRA should completely ban such referrals; they should prosecute firms that have ignored this conflict of interest; and they should make it a specific disciplinary offence to act in such a situation.

But as usual they won't do anything at all, preferring to persecute easy targets that have committed minor misdemeanours.

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