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Criminal in nature ? Law Society Chief Des Hudson off the hook over ‘criminal’ jibe against Solicitors from Hell website owner as judge dismisses slander claim

21 Oct

SFH vLaw Society of England & Wales Chief Des Hudson will not face court over “criminal” remarks against critics of crooked lawyers. Des Hudson the £400K-A-YEAR Chief Executive of the Law Society of England & Wales will not face further court scrutiny of his remarks branding the owner of naming & shaming website SOLICITORS FROM HELL “a criminal” after the judgement in the case published earlier today revealed Mr Justice Tugendhat has dismissed Mr Rick Kordowski’s claim for damages against the Law Society Chief who is alleged to have told Law Professor John Flood in reference to Mr Kordowski “That man is a criminal” and “He should be closed down”. The ‘disputed remarks’ were apparently born out of the Law Society’s frustration and it’s inability to prevent members of the public documenting their experiences at the hands of crooked lawyers on the Solicitors from Hell website.

The ruling in the case states that Mr Justice Tugendhat said Mr Kordowski’s complaint against the Law Society could not go ahead because he had not also complained about Mr Hudson’s alleged remarks being republished by others including Professor Flood. The judge said there was no evidence of any real or substantial harm to Mr Kordowski and also held the case brought against Des Hudson was “an abuse of court process”. The judge said : “Whether or not there is a good reason for refraining from suing in libel on the words posted by Professor Flood, that is not relevant to my decision that the action for slander on the words spoken to Professor Flood [by Hudson] is an abuse of the process of the court.”

Diary of Injustice reported on the claims in an earlier article, here : Naming crooks is criminal ? Law Society of England & Wales Chief Des Hudson to face legal action from Solicitors From Hell owner over “criminal” jibe

In this latest case, the Law Society of England & Wales was represented by QC Hugh Tomlinson, who is also representing the Law Society of England & Wales in their court efforts to have the Solicitors from Hell website taken down and all its content deleted forever from public view. It is understood Mr Tomlinson is the only QC who agreed to represent the Law Society in their attempts to have the Solicitors from Hell website taken offline.

Professor Flood’s statement to the court. Mr Hudson’s remarks against the Solicitors From Hell owner were corroborated by Professor John Flood in a written statement. Professor Flood’s statement read : I John Flood [address removed] provide the following statement of fact : It was about 12.30 on 21st July. I and Des Hudson had finished our live on-air discussion about Rick Kordowski and his website “Solicitors from Hell” on the BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ programme. We were being led out of the BBC and as we were going through the doors at the BBC, Des Hudson said ‘that man is a criminal’ referring to Rick Kordowski, to which I replied, the police rejected that. Des Hudson further said ‘he should be closed down’ after that he went his way and I went mine”.

Mr Hudson, responding to the allegations, told the court in his own statement, which has not been published in full : “Professor Flood suggested that our actions were likely to make Mr Kordowski a martyr and we would be seen as muzzling free speech. I replied that our actions were focussed on an issue that had nothing to do with free speech but rather his methods of collecting payment to remove comment. I believe that I said ‘in my view this amounts to criminal behaviour which is why we have reported him to the police’. Professor Flood told me (and by this time I was almost at the main doors of the entrance hall to Broadcasting House) that the police would do nothing, and I remember speaking over my shoulder to him as I walked out of the room ‘we’ll see’. I did not say to Professor Flood ‘that man is a criminal’. I would add that indeed it is my belief that the actions of Mr Kordowski are criminal in nature….”

A legal observer commenting on Mr Hudson’s submission challenged the Law Society Chief Executive’s belief Mr Kordowski’s actions “are criminal in nature”. He said : “As far as I am aware, the Police are having nothing to do with the Solicitors from Hell website, and I think any reasonable person may think naming crooked lawyers so other consumers can avoid the same fate as ruined clients before them, is simply providing a much needed service to consumers of legal services we currently do not have. Naming and shaming crooks is certainly not an act which can be branded criminal in nature.”

The full judgement in Kordowski v Hudson can be read here : Kordowski v Hudson [2011] EWHC 2667 (QB). It is understood Mr Kordowski was ordered to pay £14,000 in costs and his application for permission to appeal was refused although Mr Kordowski said he would be appealing the judgement.

Speaking to Diary of Injustice, Professor Flood commented on the High Court decision against Mr Kordowski, saying : “At some point the legal profession must stop trying to shoot the messenger and listen to the complainants’ voices and work to recreate the professional bargain of caring for clients.”

A legal insider speaking to Diary of Injustice this afternoon partly blamed the Legal Ombudsman for as-yet failing to use its powers of naming & shaming rogue solicitors as a factor in ongoing court attempts by the Law Society of England & Wales to pursue websites which name & shame the worst elements of the UK’s legal profession.

He said : “The Legal Ombudsman in England & Wales already possess the necessary power and backing to identify poorly performing solicitors in published decisions. If the LeO had already begun publishing the names of solicitors who fail their clients, I believe the Law Society’s case against the Solicitors from Hell website with an aim to having it taken down would also have been thrown out. ”

LEGAL OMBUDSMAN STILL TO NAME & SHAME CROOKED LAWYERS :

Legal OmbudsmanLegal Ombudsman for England & Wales is expected to decide on naming & shaming before end of the year. AS DEMANDS GROW from consumers of legal services in Scotland & throughout the UK for an independent and transparent ratings system for lawyers & law firms, insiders from the consumer world report the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) which regulates complaints against the legal profession in England & Wales is expected to decide by the end of the year at the latest on how it will finally proceed to identify ‘crooked lawyers’ who have been found guilty of failing their clients after being subjected to investigations by the independent law complaints regulator.

adam_sampsonLegal Ombudsman for England & Wales, Adam Sampson has backing to name rogue lawyers & law firms.As the LeO’s plan to identify solicitors & law firms in complaints judgements has the backing of consumer organisations such as Which?, and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK Government and the Legal Services Consumer Panel, more of which cab be read in an earlier report here : Legal Ombudsman moving to name & shame crooked lawyers in England & Wales, crooked Scottish solicitors records to remain protected by secrecy for now, observers in the consumer world say the time has now come for the LeO to act on the matter at hand, as consumers are being put at an ever increasing risk of using the wrong lawyer they know nothing about, particularly in these tough financial times where clients cannot afford to get into long running & costly spats with their legal representatives over misrepresentation, negligence, or even fraud.

USE IT OR LOSE IT – SOLICITORS FROM HELL

solicitors-from-hellSolicitors from Hell website allows clients to comment on their experiences with lawyers. While the Legal Ombudsman takes the time to decide on how to proceed with naming & shaming ‘crooked lawyers’, the website “SOLICITORS FROM HELL” currently offers clients an opportunity to write about their own experiences with their lawyers, whether good or bad. I suggest consumers use the Solicitors from Hell website to comment about their own experiences with lawyers and find out all they can those in the legal profession who are best to be avoided.

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