Personal experiences of dependent lawyers and conflicts of interests

Examples of lawyers in Spain looking after their own interests, rather than their clients

Jeff Wilson from Kent

Jeff Wilson from Kent, who bought an off-plan apartment in Alcaidesa on the Costa del Sol through Ocean Estates, used a firm of solicitors recommended to him by Ocean called DVA. He did not know that Fernando Del Valle, head of the company and recently arrested on charges of money laundering, was also the administrator of Alleerton Holdings – the developer he was buying from. Ocean recommended him a firm of solicitors with an obvious self-interest in closing the sale, and Wilson feels that the legal service was woefully inadequate. “I trusted Ocean Estates and never imagined they would recommend me a lawyer alleged to be thick as thieves with the developer” says Wilson.

Malcolm and Cipa Allum from Manchester 

Malcolm and Cipa Allum from Manchester also used DVA on the recommendation of Ocean Estates when they bought a town house off-plan in Nueva Andalucia near Marbella. Having been shown attractive plans and specifications by a sales rep from Ocean Estates they gave a lawyer at DVA power of attorney to sign a purchase contract on their behalf. However the purchase contract that DVA signed included a different set of plans, a detail they were not notified of when they paid the deposit of 100,000 Euros, and which would have made them change their minds. The Allums are now disputing the purchase and feel that DVA made little effort to look after their interests, appearing to side with Ocean Estates and the developer rather than them.

“The legal service was never better than cursory,” says Malcolm Allum. His Italian wife Cipa is more expressive “DVA were never on our side. They were pushing us to complete against our wishes but doing nothing to address our concerns, ignoring our questions and responding with irrelevant answers. They should have been fighting tooth and nail for us. Isn’t that what you pay them for?”