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PostPosted: July 19th, 2011, 11:34 pm 
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This is a brief resume of the Calabria Seminar held on 4th June 2011 at the premises of the IPLC in London.
After introducing IPLC lawyers and associates (Avv. Bernardis, Avv Menato, Avv. Genovese) and explaining the nature of the relationship between client, solicitor and barrister (Mr Austen Morgan), Avv Menato summarised the IPLC’s own “experiences” with the “Calabria Boom” and its aftermath.
The early stages of the “Calabria Boom” were in 2006/2007. The reasons were various: 1) beautiful location; 2) quality of life; 3) favourable exchange rate; 4) reasonably priced properties, 5) well organised marketing campaigns.
At that time the feedback from the real estate agents was that interest was huge, no one wanted to be left behind (neither Buyers nor Vendors). IPLC was receiving many phone calls requesting quotations for due diligence. However the feedback from potential clients was that our fees were too high and that other lawyers were cheaper (notwithstanding due diligence being a time consuming and painstaking process). Therefore a relatively small number of interested clients instructed us and we were able to complete in only a handful of these cases, because of the difficulty in obtaining documents from the owner/developer/agent. On many occasions we had to advise the clients that we were not in a position to complete the due diligence process.
From 2008, enquiries from potential clients were no longer about conveyancing services but about litigation, citing various reasons such as: overruns, incorrect building specifications, unstarted developments, absence of preliminary contracts, change of developer or property, unsigned preliminary contracts to name but a few.
Piece by piece we began to understand that the marketing organization was structured as a pyramid topped by an international real estate agency located in UK (the parent company) with a hundred small independent agencies working on the ground all glued together by “preferred independent lawyers”.
This raised numerous issues.
Many of the issues we encountered could reinforce notorious stereotypes about the South of Italy (slowness, unreliability, bad faith), but we are mindful that not every purchase encountered major difficulties; there were also clients who purchased their property without a hitch. This was not only down to luck: the key was not buying just any property, but one safe in terms of planning regulation.
With regard to how to “react”, Avv. Menato explained that, as a general rule, the best option is to negotiate whenever it is possible. Being able to complete on a purchase, if safe, rather than litigate in Court is probably the best damage limitation option.
If initiating a lawsuit is unavoidable, the best way to proceed is to use the preliminary contract as a parameter to understand what to do next.
If the preliminary contract is countersigned, usually, it is better to start the litigation in Italy; in fact given the property is located in Italy then Italian jurisdiction applies.
If there is no preliminary contract, the preliminary contract is unsigned, or the problems are due to the negligence of the lawyer, then litigation could be started in the UK: this in order to obtain compensation from the lawyer’s insurance.
In some cases it appears there is evidence that the lawyer has been negligent, however the degree of negligence is unclear. In this instance the best way to proceed is to read carefully all the documents and take action accordingly.
Initiating litigation in Italy may appear risky or counterproductive: the system is extremely slow (partly because it is cheap to access the justice system) and the defendants can hold up the proceedings. There are major differences between the various Courts in the country so the judges tend to leave the southern courts and this leads to delays for the new control of the case for the following judge. These may seem worthy reasons not to have faith in the Italian judicial system, but the fact is that in the majority of the cases the guilty parties, even if slowly, are condemned.
The first thing to verify is whether the developer has sufficient funds or not: it is worthless starting a litigation in Italy, namely up to five years, just to face in the end a bankrupt counterparty. If necessary and, if there is any money, the next step is to apply for a freezing order, which is granted by the judge in the presence of two conditions: the likely of the right (for example if there has been the payment but not the delivery), and the risk of not taking action immediately. When given, the freezing order provides room for manoeuvre. When refused, the ordinary claim goes on without prejudice.
With regard to the litigation in UK this can be based both on contract law for breach of the retainer (which is a type of a commercial contract) with unperformed reasonable care & skill, and in tort for negligence, lack of reasonable competency and fiduciary duties with the aim to obtain compensation for the damages.
After this dissertation there was a lengthy questions and answers section with the audience follow by the free individual assessment.
Everyone at IPLC was happy to have the chance to present the law firm and its services and more seminars are planned for the future.

Please note that the legal information contained in the post are not a legal advice. If any reader is familiar with any of the situation described in the post we strongly advice to seek independent legal advice.


Italian Department
International Law Centre
Frazer House, 32-38 Leman Street
London E1 8EW
Tel 0207 1736186
email michelem@iplc.co.uk ; luigib@iplc.co.uk


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 10:28 am 
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Joined: April 25th, 2009, 11:52 am
Posts: 110
Yesterday I received a letter dated the 1st of February 2012 advising me that "With effect from today's date The International Property Law Centre LLP will cease to exisit. IPLC LLP has therfore made arrangements with a new entity called Kobalt Law LLP" and giving me the option to become a client of Koblat Law LLP and if I agreed they would transfer my file to the new company. There were no details as to why IPLC LLP had ceased to exist or what would happen to my file if I did not agree.

I am not making any accusations of wrong doing, but when I tried to find this new company on the SRA website I was unable to locate it. The website given in the letter for Kobalt Law LLP directed me to a site offering for sale that web domain name. Due to the wonders of the internet I was able to trace them via a business directory on which it gave details of the directors of the company they happen to be Max Gold, Stefano Lucatello and Micheale Menato all who were part of IPLC. Also the address given for this firm in the letter is the same address as the now defunct IPLC.


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 11:52 am 
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Joined: May 21st, 2010, 11:46 am
Posts: 23
barnpot wrote:
Yesterday I received a letter dated the 1st of February 2012 advising me that "With effect from today's date The International Property Law Centre LLP will cease to exisit. IPLC LLP has therfore made arrangements with a new entity called Kobalt Law LLP" and giving me the option to become a client of Koblat Law LLP and if I agreed they would transfer my file to the new company. There were no details as to why IPLC LLP had ceased to exist or what would happen to my file if I did not agree.

I am not making any accusations of wrong doing, but when I tried to find this new company on the SRA website I was unable to locate it. The website given in the letter for Kobalt Law LLP directed me to a site offering for sale that web domain name. Due to the wonders of the internet I was able to trace them via a business directory on which it gave details of the directors of the company they happen to be Max Gold, Stefano Lucatello and Micheale Menato all who were part of IPLC. Also the address given for this firm in the letter is the same address as the now defunct IPLC.


These are the details of Kobalt Law LLP on the Law Society Website:

Find a solicitor
KOBALT LAW LLP - Head Office

Fax Number: 0872 111 5261
Web Site: http://www.kobaltlaw.com
Email Address: info@kobaltlaw.com

List of regulated principals in this law firm:

LUCATELLO, STEFANO ENRICO MARIO - Member
MENATO, MICHELE - Member
NORTON, PAUL ANDREW JAMES EDWARD - Member


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 12:02 pm 
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Joined: April 25th, 2009, 11:52 am
Posts: 110
RJB thanks for the info, however if you click on the link it goes to a site called 123-reg.co.uk which is a internet domains company.


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 12:17 pm 
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Joined: May 21st, 2010, 11:46 am
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barnpot wrote:
RJB thanks for the info, however if you click on the link it goes to a site called 123-reg.co.uk which is a internet domains company.


Hi Barnpot - I think all that means is that they've bought the website, but haven't uploaded the pages yet. Might be wrong, but I think that's how it works.


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 8:07 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2010, 6:54 pm
Posts: 26
Need some help I'm a little confused,who are International Law Centre LLP and what have they got to do with IPLC.

"The international Law Centre LLP will cease to exist"
"The nature of the sale transaction relating to the business of the International Law Centre LLP, meant that the existence of the sale transaction, could not be disclosed before it had been completed.

Also what has happened to B&M Law LLP, Michele Menato's new law firm which he set up with Luigi Bernardis!!


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 7:43 am 
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Audrey

They are or rather were the same company, they just shorten their name

Barnpot


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 4:22 pm 
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Joined: June 4th, 2007, 4:21 pm
Posts: 507
Location: London
barnpot wrote:
Yesterday I received a letter dated the 1st of February 2012 advising me that "With effect from today's date The International Property Law Centre LLP will cease to exisit. IPLC LLP has therfore made arrangements with a new entity called Kobalt Law LLP" and giving me the option to become a client of Koblat Law LLP and if I agreed they would transfer my file to the new company. There were no details as to why IPLC LLP had ceased to exist or what would happen to my file if I did not agree.

Sorry Barnpot, I'm going to have to correct you there.

International Law Partnership LLP was the company owned by John Howell which was going to merge with Giambrone Law LLP in September 2008. The SRA intervened into this firm and it was formally struck off and dissolved in June 2010

International Law Centre LLP appears to be another one of John Howell's companies (it traded from the same address as International Law Partnership LLP) and it was struck off and dissolved in June 2011.

From what you and Audrey have written Kobalt Law have made a clear distinction between International Law Centre LLP and IPLC LLP, twice.

I can see nothing here which confirms that IPLC LLP have ceased to exist which may account for why you have not been informed what will happen to your file if you did not agree to the transfer.


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2012, 10:38 pm 
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Joined: January 16th, 2009, 5:44 pm
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Dear All,
This is a joint statement by Kobalt Law LLP and B&M Law LLP to clarify recent events:
IPLC closed its offices on 31st January 2012.
All clients of IPLC have been sent letters giving them the option to transfer to a new law firm by the name Kobalt Law LLP. Any clients of the Italian department, who have not exercised their option to be represented by Kobalt Law LLP, cannot be represented by Kobalt Law LLP or any other law practice until they return a signed letter of authority to do so.
For the record, IPLC has never been connected to, or been with, or been part of a practice previously owned by John Howell and Peter Esders known as International Law Partnership which went into liquidation in or around August 2009.
The previous partners of IPLC closed IPLC as the partners wished to go their separate ways to pursue criminal (Max Gold) and international law matters (Stefano Lucatello) and for no other reason.
B&M Law LLP is an Italian law consultancy firm which is not currently active.

KOBALT LAW LLP
B&M LAW LLP


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PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 4:35 pm 
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Dear IPLC

What I dont understand is why IPLC didnt write to me to tell me they were closing and what would happen to my file and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that you were connected to International Law Partnership. I think Lavender was trying to explain who International Law Centre LLP were as Kobalt clearly refer to them as the entity that ceases to exist in their letter. As you know ex-Giambrone & Law clients have had some difficulties with changing entities after Mr Giambrone "wrongly transferred" the files and so perhaps we all are all a little bit sensitive.

I think it would be helpful for members of this forum if you could let us know what the connection is between IPLC LLP and International Law Practice LLP and whether IPLC LLP have ceased to exist as an entity.

Thanks
Audrey


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PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 4:45 pm 
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Still addressed to IPLC,
or whether you are just changing your name and relocating your offices to London


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PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 6:45 pm 
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Joined: June 4th, 2007, 4:21 pm
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Location: London
Audrey2010 wrote:

I think it would be helpful for members of this forum if you could let us know what the connection is between IPLC LLP and International Law Practice LLP and whether IPLC LLP have ceased to exist as an entity.

Thanks
Audrey


Hi Audrey, I think you probably meant to ask "what the connection is between IPLC LLP and International Law Centre LLP"

It gets very confusing with all these similar names...


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PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 10:59 pm 
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Thank you for the correction, Lavender,thats exactly what I ment.


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PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 11:01 pm 
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Location: London
Kobalt Law LLP filed a notice at Companies House on 14th February confirming that Mr Menato's appointment as a Member has been terminated.

I can see no reason why any clients of the Italian department of IPLC, who have not exercised their option to be represented by Kobalt Law LLP, cannot be represented by any other law practice, if IPLC have ceased to exist. This however does not appear to be the case.

I would suggest to members of this forum that, as IPLC advised us not to sign any documents when Giambrone Law LLP wrongfully transferred the files to Italy, that members do not sign any documents with new instructions to Kobalt Law LLP until they have at least received the letter from IPLC referred to in the previous post and until matters have been clarified.


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PostPosted: December 22nd, 2012, 3:34 pm 
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IPLC wrote:
Dear All,
All clients of IPLC have been sent letters giving them the option to transfer to a new law firm by the name Kobalt Law LLP. Any clients of the Italian department, who have not exercised their option to be represented by Kobalt Law LLP, cannot be represented by Kobalt Law LLP or any other law practice until they return a signed letter of authority to do so.

Sorry to all for the delay in returning to this matter, I know it has concerned some members, hopefully I will be able to provide some clarification on the current situation.

This is a public statement, which should be read with care by ALL members of this forum and in particular those who have instructed or are currently instructing The International Property Law Centre LLP or any of its associated or successor companies.

Mr Lucatello has informed me that “all active clients previously of IPLC LLP, were sent letters advising what options they had”. The current location of the IPLC LLP non-active client files is unknown. At this present time they could be located at up to 8 different locations at the last count including the offices of Kobalt Law LLP, B&M Law LLP, Studio Legale Minasi or Ingrams Solicitors Limited.

In relation to the whereabouts of my own personal files, Mr Lucatello of Kobalt Law LLP informed the Information Commissioner that Kobalt Law LLP hold “all original paperwork and folders” however this statement was later contradicted by the assertion that they only held photocopies. Mr Lucatello then explained “we are only holding her papers as we are obliged to do so by the SRA...”. As I have never been a client of Kobalt Law LLP and as I have not consented to the transfer of my files, in my view they remain the property of IPLC unless Kobalt Law LLP are the successor practice.

From the statements kindly made by Barnpot and Audrey2010, we can garner that there has been a sale transaction, of some sort.

Mr Lucatello has kindly clarified the following “There is no such entity as the “ International law centre LLP”. It used to exist and closed down. It was John Howell’s business. The error is a typographical one, committed by an assistant, who wrote the letter, announcing the changes, by way of inclusion of the “LLP”.

Therefore the statements made in the letter received should properly read:

“With effect from today's date The International Law Centre will cease to exist. IPLC LLP has therefore made arrangements with a new entity called Kobalt Law LLP..."

And

“The nature of the sale transaction relating to the business of the International Law Centre, meant that the existence of the sale transaction, could not be disclosed before it had been completed.”

The International Law Centre was a trading name of The International Property Law Centre LLP.

According to Barnpot and Audrey2010 posts then, the sale transaction relating to the business of the International Property Law Centre LLP appears to have occurred on 1st February 2012 and completed on the same day, the day Kobalt Law LLP began trading and informed past and/or present clients of The International Property Law Centre LLP of the changes.

It would therefore seem logical to conclude that Kobalt Law LLP has acquired the files of The International Property Law Centre LLP and therefore can be considered, together with other evidence, the successor firm of The International Property Law Centre LLP, for the purposes of any potential professional negligence claims in the future.

In relation to B&M Law LLP, Mr Lucatello has submitted “It is not a successor practice to anyone”. However that may change depending on the current whereabouts of your file and how it came to find itself in its current location.

Whilst this matter and other subsequent matters are under investigation by the Information Commissioner and the Law Society, I would recommend in view of Mr Lucatello’s statement about Mr Giambrone that “the SRA did not do anything visible to assist people like you...and when they did, it was too late” that ALL members of this forum who have received advice and/or choices from The International Property Law Centre LLP or any of its associated companies, particularly those who currently having problems with the allocation of communal land/set up of management companies and electricity/water supplies in Italy, that they write a simple letter in the first instance to the Company Secretary, International Property Law Centre LLP, 14 Scale Lane, Hull HU1 1LA asking them to confirm the current whereabouts of their file.

If you are in the process of issuing proceedings against The International Property Law Centre LLP or any of its associated companies or are intending to take any legal action against them in the future to recover losses that have crystallized as a result of advice received, please do not hesitate to contact me via this forum or email me directly at gelsomini@hotmail.co.uk and I will supply you with a copy of the relevant correspondence when the various matters are resolved.

Wishing all members of the forum a very Merry Christmas, wherever they may be.


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