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Solicitors' letters

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Solicitors' letters

Postby theycantdothat » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:29 pm

A current thread prompts me to ask the following three questions:

If a solicitor is writing to an unrepresented person:

1. By how much is he allowed to exaggerate any damages demanded?

2. If he says proceedings will be begun and the court asked to award damages and costs, is he allowed to say that the costs may be considerable?

3. Is he allowed to state the law to support his position and get it wrong? By "wrong" I mean "clearly wrong".

Solicitors are officers of the court. If the court finds that a solicitor has acted inappropriately in the course of proceedings what action can the court take on its on motion and what sanctions can it impose?
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby miner » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:44 pm

theycantdothat wrote:
...... Solicitors are officers of the court. If the court finds that a solicitor has acted inappropriately in the course of proceedings what action can the court take on its on motion and what sanctions can it impose?


Regarding that point, in my experience the Court avoids conduct issues, taking the view that if the issues concern the solicitor's conduct, then that is a matter for the SRA to deal with. The Court routinely avoids even addressing or considering any and all issues which may in some way relate to the solicitor's conduct. It's a cop-out for them. I'm talking about District Judges here, a very high percentage of whom seem to be utterly incompetent, routinely fail to read and digest the documents which have been submitted beforehand, are not familiar with the applicable law they are supposed to be enforcing and reach decisions which are patently and obviously wrong. They conveniently ignore wrongdoing by solicitors. As a breed, DJs may as well be Disc Jockeys, they are so often so utterly unfit for purpose.
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby atticus » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:47 pm

There have been instances of solicitors being disciplined for making excessive demands.
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby atticus » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:55 pm

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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby theycantdothat » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:09 pm

All noted, thank you.

Is the sanction available against the solicitor or (if not a sole practitioner) against the firm? I ask because it is of course possible for the letter to written by a non-solcitor employee.
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby Russell » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:53 pm

The Solicitor in my case claimed £29,000 when they were acting as litigant in person. @ £18 per hour that would be 1611 hours as no other expert fees etc were incurred. They ended up with a grand total of nothing at all.
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby Russell » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:56 pm

miner wrote:
theycantdothat wrote:
...... Solicitors are officers of the court. If the court finds that a solicitor has acted inappropriately in the course of proceedings what action can the court take on its on motion and what sanctions can it impose?


Regarding that point, in my experience the Court avoids conduct issues, taking the view that if the issues concern the solicitor's conduct, then that is a matter for the SRA to deal with. The Court routinely avoids even addressing or considering any and all issues which may in some way relate to the solicitor's conduct. It's a cop-out for them. I'm talking about District Judges here, a very high percentage of whom seem to be utterly incompetent, routinely fail to read and digest the documents which have been submitted beforehand, are not familiar with the applicable law they are supposed to be enforcing and reach decisions which are patently and obviously wrong. They conveniently ignore wrongdoing by solicitors. As a breed, DJs may as well be Disc Jockeys, they are so often so utterly unfit for purpose.


Does a Judge have a duty to read the case before it starts? On the allocation questionnaire you need to specify time for the judge to read but in my case she did some while we waited and the rest while the case was being conducted.
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby Slartibartfast » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:29 am

There were some widely reported examples a couple of years ago involving alleged internet downloading. Several firms were sending out exaggerated and misleading demands. One was Davenport Lyons, two of their partners were heavily fined by SRA. Another was ACS Law, which was utterly destroyed by regulatory sanctions (SRA, SDT & ICO).
"Judicial tergiversation is not to be encouraged"
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby atticus » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:08 am

Thanks slarti, those are the examples I was thinking of.
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Re: Solicitors' letters

Postby Mrhilter » Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:03 pm

Davenport Lyons deservedly went into receivership.
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