Rupinder Bains of Pinder Reaux Solicitors
The Royal Courts of
Justice, London - 1 April 2015
Rupinder Bains of Pinder Reaux solicitors has been reported to the Solicitor's Regulatory Authority by the son of an elderly female client (GA 88 years old) who was found by an Independent Social Worker Mr Gillman-Smith lying in bed in her home in Battersea in a "frail and vulnerable state and unable to look after herself or guard against possible harm or exploitation" . GA was neverthless said to be a funder of legal fees amounting to around £100,000, which was paid to Pinder Reaux.
Mr Gillman-Smith had been appointed by the Official Solicitor on 3/12/14 at the request of GA's eldest son JA to investigate the circumstances of his mother GA and whether she was an adult who lacked capacity due to coercion, undue influence or some other disabling reason (unconnected with an impairment of the mind) to make and implement decisions according to her own free will.
The High Court has an inherent jurisdiction to order a Harbin v Masterman enquiry in respect to vulnerable adults whose incapacity to make and implement decisions does not arise from a mental disorder but from other factors. This can be due to pressure from relatives or carers not to make contact with a particular person etc or causes related to a physical deprivation of liberty. Such people fall outside the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
An emergency application in the High Court before Judge Jackson on 1/4/15 was made by GA's son to remove Rupinder Bains from continuing to purportedly act for his mother. Ms Bains continued to assert that there was no conflict of interest in acting for GA. Judge Jackson pontedly asked
"why are we here? The conflict of interest is obvious. I am going to adjourn the court to enable you to consider your position."
Ms Bains then reluctantly agreed that she would cease to purport to act for GA. The court was then asked to order the Official Solicitor to appoint an independent solicitor to act on GA's behalf.
It is understood that the son of GA will also seek the removal of Ms Bains from Roll of Solicitors on account of her conduct in purporting to represent his mother while also representing GA's daughters, who prevented GA from contacting her son.
Ms Bains also advised a guest in the house where GA lived to apply for an ex-parte Occupation Order against the son in October 2013 which prevented the son from visiting GA in her home for more than a year. The Occupation Order was finally discharged on appeal on 4/3/15 when it was conceded that the guest was not a person entitled under the family Law Act 1996 to obtain an occupation order.
Pinder Reaux have also been accused of presenting a schedule of costs to the court which was false and misleading. The court declined to order costs on a summary basis and after the trial Pinder Reaux served a revised statement of costs on the son which was more than double that which had been presented to the court.
Pinder Reaux told the son in correspondence that they had not presented all their costs to the court when seeking costs to be paid on a summary basis because they wanted to persuade the court to grant a summary assessment and hence did not want to present their full bill which the court might have refused to countenance as being "too high".
Ms Bains however had signed a certificate to the effect that:-
"The costs stated in this schedule are not higher than what their client is liable to pay"
When the court refused to order Pinder Reaux's costs to be paid on a summary basis, Ms Bains subsequently served on the son a schedule of costs which was almost double the costs presented to the court.
The court case is listed here:- http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCOP/2015/65.html
It is believed that the son will raise all these matters with the Solicitor's Regulatory Authority.