City Pot Boy was downing a much needed Timmy Taylors in the Magpie in Bishopsgate the other evening (best pies in the City and at the back of Bishopsgate nick !) when a proper barney broke out between two of mi’ learned friends and a couple of non pub Chartered Surveyors. Basically it seems the legal profession in the shape of Solicitors Firms can act for both the Landlord and the Tenant if there is clear and distinct separation between the individuals that represent the two warring parties. Simple common sense as the Brief you hire is supposed to give his all and take no flak in giving of his best for his Client. Now you don’t want to hire a wishy washy down the middle type lawyer who will see good on both sides. You want a fighter and a winner. Well that’s the reality innit ?
Anyway, mi’ learned friends were appalled that in the pub world, you can have a Chartered Surveyor as an individual, who both represents the Pubcos, like Enterprise, Punch, Admiral etc AND also holds out that he represents Tenants. For that matter so were the other two non pub Chartered Surveyors although they upheld the right of their professional brothers in arms to do so. Then the row broke out. It ran something like this with at its heart “money talks”.
OK, so you represent, say Punch in a big legal bust up over rent. They come to you because you have a reputation for pulling all the strokes you know in promoting their case. In fact they keep coming back to you and your Firm because you have been a consistent winner for them, and the fees keep rolling. Then one day you feel totally relaxed about representing a Tenant against Punch. You stride like a colossus in the promotion of independent thinking. But hang on a cotton picking minute, are you really going to drop heavyweight all destructive guano from the Tenant, on the very same Pubco that has so generously supported your Firm for all those years ? Go figure !! Some say that a huge conflict of interest MUST exist !
The Legal Beagles got all hot under the collar as to their superior the Law Society strict rules on Conflicts of Interest. They insist that the SAME PERSON or SAME TEAM is just not allowed to have the freedom to (in turn) represent entirely opposing factions. The case in point was banged home loud and clear by reference to one Michael Napier, former head of the Law Society, a partner of the hugely respected City law firm Irwin Mitchell. The case concerned a whistle blowing barrister Michael Ford and the huge multi national oil company Exxon. Seems the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is the Law Society’s disciplinary wing, issued a strongly worded sanction of “a severe reprimand” on their ex leader Michael Napier to his and his Firm’s shame and deep concern.(Full details in Private Eye No 1282,18th February, page 30…credit where credit is due..Editor).This left my Chartered Surveyor buddies downing their pints and confessing that their governing body, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) just don’t seem to want to operate the same checks and balances when push comes to shove. Vested interests ? Money talks ? Not very satisfactory and all that for the RICS to turn a Nelsonian blind eye to the RICS members in the pub world who have feet firmly in both camps and claim that they can be as equally Client assertive for both camps. Pull the other one. Ding Dong !!.
Which left your dear old City Pot Boy looking ruefully at the bottom of an empty pint (not for long) and wondering just why the Pubcos are so assiduously pursuing the BBPA funded and the BII promoted PIRRS rent resolution system as the greatest thing since white sliced bread. Its almost a religious fervour, at every turn, Tenants are browbeaten by Pubcos into using PIRRS to settle rent disputes. Maybe the Tenants have seen through the mists surrounding PIRRS as there were only a grand take up of five, yes that’s FIVE in the last recorded year according to the 2010 PIRRS Board report.
No smoke without fire, which reminds me, I need yet another load of ash logs for the Saloon bar inglnook. Chews ’em up like crazy, but gives a wonderful atmosphere.
Tootle Pip !
City Pot Boy.
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