Legal firm launches group action against Simplify over cyber-attack

Keller Lenkner UK has launched a group action compensation claim after Simplify experienced a ‘major security breach’ thought to be a cyber-attack.

More than a month on from IT systems crashing at Simplify Group – affecting property transactions at the conveyancing firms of Premier Property Lawyers, My Home Move, Advantage Property Lawyers, JS Law and DC Law – a number of purchasers remain in limbo with property transactions not being processed.

There has been growing discontent on social media from people facing delays completing their sales due to the IT problem, which started on 7 November.

While the exact details around the incident have not been disclosed, cyber experts have been called in to resolve the issue, while police are now investigating the incident.

Keller Lenkner UK, which specialises in data breach and cybercrime litigation, says that the claim will seek to recover any financial losses suffered because of this incident. For example, because they were unable to proceed with their sale or purchase, many of those affected had to find unexpected storage for possessions and temporary accommodation.

Keller Lenkner UK’s most recent update states: “Being involved in a data security failure can also cause significant levels of stress, anxiety, and anguish. As a result, if the breach has triggered or exacerbated any mental health conditions for those affected, we will also add this to our claim.

“In this case, whether personal data was exposed or not, people have already experienced financial losses and mental distress. We passionately believe that something must be done to make companies guilty of such failures take responsibility, compensate victims, and implement adequate data security measures in future.”

Speaking about the breach in the Daily Express last week, Conservative MP Bob Blackman, member of Parliament’s levelling-up, housing and communities select committee, said: “Whilst [Simplify] are working around the clock to restore their systems, we have heard numerous stories of home buyers not being able to complete or exchange. Indeed we have heard several stories of people having to sleep in their cars as they had to leave their old house and had not been able to complete on their new home.

“I would certainly welcome an investigation by [the] committee to investigate how this happened and what steps are been taken to prevent such an incident from happening again.

“Whilst it remains down to [Simplify] how they handle the situation, I would welcome any efforts to offer some sort of compensation.”


Conveyancing outage – still no firm date for all IT systems to be restored


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  1. Rob Hailstone

    Compensation in some cases is certainly due. Adding on something for any triggered or exacerbated any mental health conditions will complicate some of those claims even more. The fallout from this event could go on for some time.
    One also has to have sympathy for the ‘coal face’ conveyancers (and others) who work for the Simplify firms involved. The SDLT holiday no doubt piled on the pressure earlier this year, and to have to deal with the issues caused by the security breach very quickly after the holiday ended cannot be easy for them.
    Let’s hope we see a new statement from Simplify shortly, hopefully containing some positive news, reassuring not only their clients, but also their employees, and many others involved in the home buying and selling process.

  2. Nemo Conveyancer

    We passionately believe that something must be done to make companies guilty of such failures take responsibility, compensate victims, and implement adequate data security measures in future.

    Having perused Keller Lenkner’s own reviews, the irony of this statement is palpable.

    Comments such as ‘did they not have security in place’ or ‘can’t they just use a back-up’ are largely unhelpful and simplistic.

    Anyway, the clients deserve to be compensated and Simplify will have specialist insurance for such matters. All fine.


  3. #ImpressiveConveyancing


    1. A pending class action which means there are way too many unhappy clients, and that means there is a failing by any code of conduct standard – so where are CLC and why do there remain so many annoyed people on social media

    2. CLC should urgently investigate:

    a. if there has been a failing at basic client service level; and

    b. whether referral fee procedures have been complied with to the letter

    ….and if not there should surely be a commensurate FINE for each and every client failing.

    3. In addition, an investigation should be brought to link into any fines all the estate agents who recommended clients into this AND who continued to do so while problems were well publicised.

    4. A Government enquiry into whether there is effective regulation of non-solicitor firms

  4. Rab C Halestorm

    And people criticise conveyancers?

    Now we have a firm of glorified ambulance chasers sensing an opportunity to take advantage of other people’s misfortune? Not very professional and just compounding how badly our legal profession can look when it tries hard so to do.

    Yes the Simplify saga is a scandal. No I am not a fan of their operations or work ethos, and their staff at the best of times are not qualified to deal with the jobs they are given. But they have been badly cut adrift by the people who run this operation, and the mess clients have been left in lies squarely at the doors of the faceless barons who own the Company, and who have been deafening in their silence in terms of regular updates on what is going on.

    I read elsewhere today an MP has been calling for a high level inquiry to get to the bottom of what has happened here. That has to be the way to go given that the so called regulatory body for this Company, and their ilk, have been embarrassing in their response to date and are clearly not fit for purpose. I agree with the points made by @#impressiveconveyancing. Though with more important things to worry about I doubt we will get a Government response and in six months time all will be back to normal in factory conveyancer/CLC land. Whatever “normal” is.

    1. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

      I think the much BIGGER question is, Alan, why are you posting under a pseudonym, instead of your own name rather than some obscure 90’s reference to Rob Hailstone?!!!

      Just curious …



      1. Rab C Halestorm

        ?? What an utterly bizarre comment??

        1. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

          It’s not bizarre at all.

          It’s about credibility Alan.

          You are passing a pretty damning judgement on our regulatory body, and whilst I embrace freedom of expression, I would like to understand from what position of expertise and experience you are coming from.

          People would take your position more seriously if you

          (a) write under your own name

          (b) establish your credentials.

          Surely that’s not unreasonable?

          1. Rab C Halestorm

            But it is nothing to do with you – as you say this is a Forum where opinions are invited, and last time I looked free speech was still allowed?
            If you have a sensible opinion state it, but as someone who is always complaining all across social media about non-existent trolling, why stoop so low? As for credibility, well we won’t go there will we?As they say in Fawlty Towers there is a whole conference that could be given on the subject! 

            1. Rob Hailstone

              Was mildly funny earlier in the week, but now the game is up Alan Murray, maybe time use your own name or another pseudonym if you still don’t want to.

            2. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

              I agree with you 100% Alan about free speech, but by decrying the CLC you must see you are undermining the credibility of businesses such as mine, that are regulated by them.

              1. Rab C Halestorm

                Which is not necessarily the intention and I appreciate you cannot be seen to criticise the CLC publicly. But with in excess of forty-five years in the legal profession I can speak from a position of vast experience having seen massive changes (very few for the better) during that time.

                I can recall the attitude of the Law Society many moons ago when issues of incompetence were raised with them. So what I see now is deja vu in relation to the attitude of the CLC. They are not covering themselves with glory and look like football’s Premier League in terms of regulation. That is how it looks from the outside and I work with many CLC firms as a consultant and trainer and they themselves have no good words to say privately either. Can it really be right that any Tom, Dick and Harry can set up as a Licenced Conveyancer with the correct qualification after only a few years training? That certainly doesn’t help the profession. Whilst their policy of allowing firms to act on both sides of a transaction is simply wrong on so many levels and cannot be justified. I could go on.

                I am passionate about conveyancing and I will continue to speak out against what I see as impediments to better standards and quality within the profession. Perception and inaction is unfortunately something which can hurt Companies and regulators where it appears things are not right, I can only call it as I see it day to day from a number of different perspectives.

                If that offends people sorry. But maybe there should be change from within?

                1. Rob Hailstone

                  It isn’t you speaking out though is it Alan, it is your alter ego Rab C Halestorm, which reduces the seriousness of anything you say that might be relevant.

                  1. Rab C Halestorm

                    To be fair Rob you claim to speak for conveyancers but from your position tend to adopt a very corporate approach. So you attack people like me who call it as it is because you see me as an easy target. But in reality you never criticise the real culprits in the conveyancing profession.
                    Worse because of your high profile people outside conveyancing feel you do speak for all your conveyancers, so your sterility and neutrality looks bad on us all at times. Not to mention it is hugely frustrating because the comments you make and scenarios you describe often bear little relation to what we conveyancers are seeing.
                    “I have just spent four hours in a meeting with (amongst others) four coal face conveyancers. All have the latest systems and technology. They are hardworking diligent and decent people. I have not been at the coal face for 15 years and only now do I realise how challenging (ridiculous in fact) the conveyancers role in the 21st century is.”
                    And when you put up a comment such as the above it actually suggests you are a little bit out of touch. So that can be frustrating for real conveyancers such as myself and many others who see nobody speaking for us. A forum such as this is therefore an outlet to get an opinion across which reflects not only what people feel, but what we see day in day out yet do not really have any other way to express our opinions. Let’s face it nobody is really interested higher up the foodchain. If they were conveyancing would not be the mess it is these days? I do not want to leave the profession in a few years time with it still on a downward slope, but I despair at where we are going.
                    Again it just seems the point is being missed all the time because it is easier for people to troll and insult rather than change.  Depite what you probably think it is not a personal attack, it is just perception again, I can’t help how things look from the outside.

                    1. Rob Hailstone

                      What on earthy are you blathering on about Rab/Alan?
                      My members (individual conveyancers circa 5000), say (well most) I am their ‘eyes and ears’, not necessarily their voice, and I am not arrogant enough to assume that I am their voice.
                      I often post my personal views and they will regularly be the views of one half of my membership and not the other. But they get that.
                      When have I ever attacked you? I might have disagreed with you but I disagree with a lot of people, as we all do.
                      I am just as passionate as you are about conveyancers and conveyancing. I just try to voice my opinions in a different way perhaps.
                      You could always join the Bold Legal Group, and have access to that audience of 5000 if you want?
                      Time for me to move on. Happy Christmas.

                2. #ImpressiveConveyancing

                  Totally agree with all you say Rab C Halestorm.    

                3. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

                  Fair comment Alan – whilst I’m not 100% convinced of the effectiveness of ANY regulation, I think that the issue of standards will, in the end, will be determined by the market.

                  I have interviewed three candidates in the last fortnight whose firm’s closed down because they couldn’t afford the PI.  Where there is incompetence, claims follow.

                  In our experience, there seems little to choose between SRA and CLC ( we can ignore The Archbishop of Canterbury in these figures )  firms .  A swift look over the back pages of the Gazette will bear this out.

  5. Woodentop

    Oh come on. A Tech company that today does not have safety protocols! Where is the standalone secure daily server back-up????? In this day and age who isn’t aware of mailware, virus and hacking being common practice. It should be a top priority to protect and if it fails, have system in place to restore with little trouble …. push of a key (so IT geaks keep telling us). Lost count of the number of times back-up, back-up, back-up.

  6. PeeBee

    WOW!! Quite a playground scuffle going on above…

    Disappointing for more than one reason.  But by far the most disturbing aspect, disappointing that Mr Ambrose decides to deny another poster of his right to use an anonymous account name to post under, for reasons I am still trying to understand   The claim – which Mr Hailstone seems to back – is that for some reason the anonymity aspect in some way affects the credibility of the words posted.

    Sorry, gentlemen – but I’m calling bull***t on that one.  The credibility of the words is only affected by the credibility of the words.  It’s not a case of who says what… it’s what is said – every time.  Some very qualified and clever people say a lot of nonsense – as we are unfortunately seeing, hearing or reading about on a daily basis.

    If you can drive a bus through the argument and thus silence the one making spurious statements – then do so.  But if all you can do is to ‘out’ the poster to achieve whatever goal it is you are punting at, then all you have succeeded to do is to diminish your own position both on this particular thread, and I would suggest for future.  Who are you going to call out next? we will wonder.  Me, perhaps? (too late – already done.  And guess what – no-one that mattered gave a fuppenny – just as I suggested would be the case.)  ‘Nemo Conveyancer’ or ‘Woodentop’, both of whom have commented on the article?  Or what about working your way through the long list of ‘regulars’ that no longer post here on EYE due to reasons best known to themselves – but the last straw for most seems to have been the new authentication process…?

    This isn’t what EYE was created for, or why we followed Frau Renshaw in droves from the other pub.

    A low point on a bad day, I would suggest.

    1. Rob Hailstone

      Anyone can call themselves what they like PeeBee. I assume that Alan was trying to be funny with a play on my name (fair enough), but I worked out who he was, and it should have been me to out him, which would have been done in a light hearted’ caught you out’ sort of way. But, Peter beat me to it.
      My point is now, that as we know who Rab really is, the joke is past its sell by date, and not realising that, in my opinion, doesn’t add to his credibility. Maybe I am wrong, if so, carry on Rab.

    2. Woodentop

      Spot on 
      The credibility of the words is only affected by the credibility of the words.  It’s not a case of who says what… it’s what is said – every time. 
       the long list of ‘regulars’ that no longer post here on EYE due to reasons best known to themselves – but the last straw for most seems to have been the new authentication process…?
      This isn’t what EYE was created for, or why we followed Frau Renshaw in droves from the other pub.
      Me thinks they have now gone to the other pub

  7. Rob Hailstone

    Via today’s edition of The Law Society Gaztte:
    In a statement, Premier Property Lawyers said the run-up to Christmas is a busy time for conveyancers and teams were working ‘flat out’ to get as many cases through exchange and completion as possible. As a result, the number of calls and emails in and out of the business is higher than normal.
    Premier Property Lawyers said: ‘If any party is struggling to get in touch with their counterpart at Premier Property Lawyers we would urge them to keep trying, using the normal email address and phone numbers they have been provided with.
    ‘We remain up to date with completing transactions where exchange of contracts has taken place and we are exchanging contracts and completing on hundreds of transactions, daily. Many colleagues are continuing to work additional hours in order to work through any backlogs of activity on their cases. We continue to prioritise cases, focusing on helping our clients to move as soon as possible, relying on other lawyers within chains also being ready to do so.
    ‘We understand that, despite all our best efforts, there has unfortunately been some disruption for a number of our customers, and we will continue to do everything possible to minimise any impact on them and prioritise their needs. We understand phone lines may still be busy, but our teams are doing all they can to respond to messages as quickly as they can.’

  8. Rob Hailstone

    Alan, genuine request. If you want to try to bury the hatchet, email me: We could then set up a Zoom call.


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