The future President of the Law Society and his firm is seeking to make one of his ex-clients homeless for the sake of £7,000.
David Greene, the current Vice President of the Law Society and the Senior Partner of Edwin Coe, is due to take over as President in 2020.
Known as the 'Brexit lawyer' for his work on the Article 50 litigation, his firm's attempt to take a man's home threatens to overshadow his appointment.
Greene was instructed in 2008 by EcoPower, a business which developed an eco-friendly exhaust system for London taxis, to challenge TfL's withdrawal of its licence. When EcoPower lost, Greene helped to bring a damages claim against the taxi licencing office, but that was also unsuccessful.
EcoPower and its distribution partner paid approximately £80,000 to Edwin Coe for the work conducted by Greene, his team and counsel. But Greene sought payment of a further £23,000 for work done, which he later reduced to £7,218.74. The firm claimed that Dave Davies, EcoPower's director and owner, was personally liable for the outstanding amount. Greene had emailed Davies a new engagement letter in November 2009 which identified Davies as its client. In Edwin Coe's claim against Davies, Greene testified that it was necessary to flip clients from EcoPower to Davies because Davies had "made it clear that his company had little or no money".
Davies never signed the engagement letter, and said he had not seen it. He also denied ever being Edwin Coe's client, and produced correspondence which he said contradicted Greene's testimony and proved that EcoPower remained the true client. But a District Judge disagreed and, finding that Davies had become Edwin Coe's client, ordered him to pay up.
As the result of a complaint by Davies, the Legal Ombudsman ordered Edwin Coe to knock £100 off its bill because it had not promptly replied to his emails and calls. But despite the token slap on the wrist, or perhaps because of it, Edwin Coe continued to pursue its ex-client, who complained to the SRA without success.
The firm obtained a Charging Order over Davies' house, which is valued at £220,000, last year. It is now seeking a Possession and Sale Order to recover approximately £20,000, comprising £7k plus costs and interest, by flogging the property.
"The last occupier has cursed the building and any who dare enter, but look at that induction hob."
As Edwin Coe's senior partner, Greene shared over £7 million with his fellow partners last year. The firm's annual accounts stated that its highest paid member received £517,000.
Davis said, “A formal complaint has been filed to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in the hope that his actions will be scrutinized and action taken. It is beyond belief that the Vice President of the Law Society would act in such a way, with no apparent regard for moral or ethical conduct”.
In a statement, a spokesman for Edwin Coe said, "The agreement between the firm and its clients is not a personal relationship between one partner and a client. The contract is with the firm and it is the firm that charged for the work done for Mr Davies on his instructions and the firm that started the court process".
He said, "All issues were aired by Mr Davies before the Court more than once in fully contested hearings", adding that the firm "has always been open to achieving a resolution and it remains open to Mr Davies to seek a resolution”.
A spokesman for the Law Society said, "Solicitors in England and Wales are highly trained and highly regulated and clients have a number of avenues of recourse if they believe the service they have received falls short. Solicitors are also entitled – where they haven’t been paid for their services – to seek recovery of that debt.”