A firm of Borders solicitors and estate agents has had its control and management taken over by the Law Society of Scotland.
The doors of Stormonth Darling WS in Kelso have been closed and clients are being redirected to another firm.
And The Southern can confirm that former leading partner Andrew Penman has been suspended by the society and is under investigation by that body.
Mr Penman was suspended in November and control was left in the hands of fellow partner Craig Wood.
But Mr Wood has now taken ill and last week a committee of the Law Society met and decided to issue an Intervention Notice on the company.
Its spokeswoman told us: “The society has intervened to take control of client files and papers at Stormonth Darling, Kelso, due to the firm’s partner, Craig Wood, becoming ill.
“Andrew Penman was suspended in November and remains suspended until further notice.
“Representatives of Mr Wood and Mr Penman are currently working to develop a solution regarding the future of Stormonth Darling and have put in place a temporary working arrangement with local firm Cullen Kilshaw, which will deal with any pressing client queries.”
A notice on the firm’s door at the Bank of Scotland building confirms the office is closed. And the ansaphone confirms Mr Wood’s ill health, but makes no mention of Mr Penman.
The dean of the Roxburgh Faculty of Solicitors, Ron Hastings, commented: “The loss of the long-established firm of Stormonth Darling, who have been practising law in the Borders for some 150 years, will come as a real shock to all who know the firm and its history in the town.
“This news will have left loyal clients, some with connections going back generations, looking for another local solicitor they can trust to look after their business and family affairs.
“Any former clients who need assurance that their files are being progressed should consult another solicitor of their choice and if they wish help finding a solicitor, contact the Law Society of Scotland who will be able to provide advice and guidance.
“Details of other firms in the area who will be able to help are available on the Law Society website at www.lawscot.org.uk where there are also contact numbers.”
When Mr Penman was suspended in November the office was closed for a week.