Tilly Bailey Irvine (TBI) the Law Firm that jumped on the “Speculative Invoicing” bandwagon driven by ACS:LAW has “Agreed” to accept a monetary punishment of £2800. This is a sad sad day for those who followed this case and were expecting more from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
TBI launched their letter campaign in January 2010 and by April had had enough. They represented “Media & More GMBH” and also “Golden Eye International” sending out letters of claim to members of the general public that they claim were infringing the copyright of their clients.
Problem for TBI was that it was a deeply flawed system that rounded up far to many innocent people.
TBI like ACS:LAW and the law firm that followed Gallant Macmillan, never sought to go to court but relied heavily on the embarrassment of receiving one of these letters, and the assumption that no one would challenge them because of the damage to their reputation in doing so.
One of the more infamous titles represented by TBI was “Army Fu**ers”, I cant publish the titles of the others as they are that bad (You can type in Media & More into a search engine to see what I mean)
Ironically TBI withdrew from the “Speculative Invoicing” plan, in a letter to the SRA TBI stated:
“We have been surprised and disappointed at the amount of adverse publicity that our firm has attracted in relation to this work and the extra time and resources that have been required to deal solely with this issue.
We are concerned that the adverse publicity could affect other areas of our practice and therefore following discussions with our clients, we have reluctantly agreed that we will cease sending out further letters of claim.”
Hmmm well not as surprised and disappointed as a military man returning from service to one of their letters accusing him of downloading a porn film called “Army Fu*kers” but still.
TBI went on to try to eradicate all trace of their “Speculative Invoicing” actions by Vandalising” an entry on Wikipedia. This led to a rather amusing clash with one of the editors:
“Please do not remove sourced content from Wikipedia, as you did with TBI Solicitors — this is vandalism,” wrote a Wikipedia admin to Tilly Bailey & Irvine.
“Furthermore, your IP address geolocates to ‘TILLY BAILEY & IRVINE’ which suggests that you have a conflict of interest in removing criticism of the firm from Wikipedia. I suggest that you familiarise yourself with that policy before editing this particular article any further,”
The Speculative Invoicing plan that TBI took wholesale from ACS:LAW as shown in the ACS leaked emails (And for which ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley originally threatened to report them to the SRA, but later relaxed and attempted to “Work together” when the SRA came down on them both), was also described in the House Of Lords as “no better than Legal blackmail”
In the end most people who read my Blog know that I seek only one thing from these Lawyers, and that is an apology, an apology for the pain they have caused in falsely accusing people who were left with a feeling of helplessness, and having no option but to pay up to avoid losing their homes or their jobs.
Did Tilly Bailey Irvine feel they could apologise? Well here is what one of their Bosses said,
TBI managing partner John Hall said the firm was “delighted to be able to dispose of this matter in a way that makes it clear that the firm has never acted with any conscious or deliberate impropriety”.
He added: “We take pride in our reputation for fighting our clients’ corner to the best of our ability. Although on this occasion the SRA has ruled that we went too far – on their interpretation of the rules – we shall continue always to put the interests of clients first, as our clients and the public generally would expect.
“Copyright breaches cost business £200m per year. We hope that these cases will highlight the lack of clarity in the rules and ensure that, in future, criminal activities such as these can be dealt with by the legal process so that copyright is safeguarded and clients’ legitimate interests are protected.”
noting that the SRA ruled that the company went “too far”, that decision was based on “their (SRAs) interpretation of the rules”.
One wonders what on earth John Hall means by this, the SRA after all are the ones who MAKE THE RULES and regulate Solicitors, this is no apology, and I hope the SRA will reconsider referring Tilly Bailey Irvine to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which is independent, and where the likes of John Hall can argue the rules all he wants.
Yesterday at the Patents Court Judge Birss gave ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley such a kick up his ample backside that the ripples will be felt throughout the Legal Profession.
In one of the final hearings into the Court Cases that ACS:LAW were due to bring against 27 alleged infringers (Read Innocent people) the Judge has turned his attention to Wasted Costs, ie ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley wasting everyone’s time with his ridiculous Business Plan of targeting innocent people for alleged filesharing
I have covered the previous parts of this case on my Blog and it has also been reported rather nicely on the Torrent Freak Website.
Some stand out moments from yesterday include, comments from Judge Birss
Agreements between ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T) In my judgment there is an apparently strong prima facie case that the Basic Agreements are improper and champertous
Assuming Mr Crossley has indeed made a loss so far (and I am not satisfied I have the whole picture relating to the finances of this exercise in any event) it does not alter the fact that the Basic Agreements are improper and unreasonable.
Mr Tritton (Ralli Barrister) submitted that the Basic Agreements were negligently drafted by ACS:Law and the negligence was not merely an unintended act of incompetence but was done for ACS:Law’s benefit
In my judgment the drafting of operative clause 1.1.1 in the Basic Agreements was prima facie negligent. Mr Parker(ACS:LAW Barrister) did not advance a case to deny that, he submitted there was no evidence Mr Crossley was responsible for the drafting of the Basic Agreements. I have already dealt with that above. Mr Crossley was plainly responsible.
(NPO Applications)This is yet another example of conduct by ACS:Law which, at best, can be described as amateurish and slipshod.
(On reports that SHOULD have been sent to ISPs) I will hear counsel as to whether I should direct ACS:Law and/or Media CAT to provide the report to the court and the defendants’ solicitors or explain why there is no report to provide.
In summary, consideration of the Norwich Pharmacal orders in this case reveals, prima facie, a series of errors and questionable conduct by ACS:Law….
(On the letter of claim) In my judgment the letter is plainly negligent and may well be improper.
(Negligent Correspondance) ACS:Law’s conduct was chaotic and lamentable. Documents which plainly should have been provided were not provided. This was not the behaviour of a solicitor advancing a normal piece of litigation.
( GCB Debacle) I have already found the GCB episode shows that ACS:Law knew perfectly well that Media CAT intended the letter writing campaign to be pressed ahead with despite the court being told that the Notices of Discontinuance were being used in order for the claimant to give the matter further consideration. That finding provides further support for my finding that there is a prima facie case of unreasonable conduct by ACS:Law in relation to the Notices.
In my judgment the combination of Mr Crossley’s revenue sharing arrangements and his service of the Notices of Discontinuance serves to illustrate the dangers of such a revenue sharing arrangement and has, prima facie, brought the legal profession into disrepute
(Crossley 3rd Witness Statement) In his third witness statement Mr Crossley set out draft accounts and in paragraph 7 he summarised his position. He stated that the business model has been neither profitable nor rewarding for him in any way at all, and that neither himself nor ACS:Law solicitors have funded these proceedings and have not benefited from them. He said the control which ACS:Law has had over these proceedings is only to the extent that any litigation solicitor would have over his litigation client’s affairs and no more. He continued “By contrast both the claimant and the various copyright owners that it was representing received considerable income from the business model without any cost to them.”
There is a good arguable case that ACS:Law / Mr Crossley will be liable for the costs of this case and I will add ACS:Law / Mr Crossley as a party to this action for that purpose.
Barrister Guy Tritton is already on record describing the ACS Law case as the “most appalling case” he’d seen in his career, stressing it was a unique incident.
The Court hearing will be reconvened on the 17th June just two weeks AFTER the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal meets to decide what THEY are going to do with Andrew Crossley.
In Crossleys own words “Exciting times”
The hearing regarding ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T has now been well covered. My own personal favourite moments from Judge Birss are at the foot of this article.
The reason for this post though is that it seems we have forgotten those OTHER people involved with all this over the last THREE years now.
I would like to show those who are only just reading up about all this, the bigger picture.
Davenport Lyons were the original Law firm (2007), who gave over a lot of their material and clients, to ACS:LAW (May 2009) including a number of the paralegals, amongst them Terence Tsang. Davenport Lyons were investigated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and referred to the SDT (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal)  
Tilly Bailey Irvine were up next (January 2010) and for a few months sent out letters defending Pornographic films, Although the films were legal in the sense they were certificated, the actual names of these films were VERY provocative and one could only imagine the distress caused to the Wife or indeed Husband who opened one of those letters.
Tilly Bailey Irvine withdrew citing “Adverse publicity” (April 2010)  not before being condemned in the House of Lords as “Latest entrants to the hall of infamy” and “An embarrassment to the creative industries” and also being accused by Wikipedia of “Vandalising” their entry.
In a wider attack by the Lords during the Digital Economy Bill, the actions of these “Piracy Chasers” was condemned as “Blackmail and a Scam”
Gallant Macmillan entered the fray defending The Ministry of Sound in July 2010. With the online community outraged at yet another “Speculative invoice” entering the scene, letters started being sent to the Chief Master who issued the NPO’s that forced ISP’s to hand over details of their subscribers.
The “Anonymous DDos attacks on ACS:LAW brought down their website in September 2010 and then ACS:LAW accidently released a HUGE email archive online which was quickly snatched and posted to torrent sites, The contents of the emails were explosive.
The huge data leak gave added impetus to the Courts handing out the NPOs and a hearing was adjourned . When it was reconvened BT/Plusnet refused to hand over their subscribers data and then it was learnt that BT had destroyed the records it held for Gallant Macmillan. Gallant Macmilan were subject to DDos attacks.
Gallant Macmillan withdrew after BT destroyed the data they requested after a delay in obtaining a “norwich pharmacal” order, they deemed they could not make enough money out of the scheme to make it worth their while.
ACS:LAW just kept ploughing on though, using Logistep first as a “Data monitor” then Digiprotect, and then an obscure firm called NG3Systems.
After the DDos attack that destroyed their web presence it was thought that that would be the end of them. They continued issuing letters however with Media C.A.T who represented Pornographers Sheptonhurst amongst others. ACS:LAW were investigated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and referred to the SDT (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal)
Forced into a corner of ”put up or shut up” after claims he would never take a case to court, Crossley attempted a Court hearing against some recipients who had NOT responded, what is known as a “Default Judgement” It failed on an epic scale.
Some of those accused actually sent in a response and a defence and the hearing ended in disarray as the Judge ordered a search for all other cases on the Court system. He found 27 of them and arranged for a Court hearing to work out what direction should be taken.
With the Community totally focused against them and watching every move they made, it became clear that ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T were desperate, to drop all the cases. The Judge refused adjourned the hearing and set a new date for January 2011 
A new letter went out from a company called GCB Ltd, the community smelt a rat and rightly so. According to the Judge it was an attempt by Crossley and Bowden to get the last bits of money they could.
For the rest read the judgment online. My favourite parts are below, and show what we knew all along, it was a Scam of epic proportions.
Media CAT and ACS:Law have a very real interest in avoiding public scrutiny of the cause of action because in parallel to the 26 court cases, a wholesale letter writing campaign is being conducted from which revenues are being generated. This letter writing exercise is founded on the threat of legal proceedings such as the claims before this court.
The information annexed to Mr Batstone’s letter refers to ACS:Law having “recovered” £1 Million. Whether that was right and even if so whether it was solely in relation to Media CAT or other file sharing cases I do not know. Simple arithmetic shows that the sums involved in the Media CAT exercise must be considerable. 10,000 letters for Media CAT claiming £495 each would still generate about £1 Million if 80% of the recipients refused to pay and only the 20% remainder did so. Note that ACS:Law’s interest is specifically mentioned in the previous paragraph because of course they receive 65% of the revenues from the letter writing exercise. In fact Media CAT’s financial interest is actually much less than that of ACS:Law. Whether it was intended to or not, I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court. Why take cases to court and test the assertions when one can just write more letters and collect payments from a proportion of the recipients?
Friday 09 April 2010 by Andrew J Crossley (My clients are pleased with the service I provide. I have conducted file sharing-related work for 11 months; to date I have recovered close to £1m for my clients.)
The GCB episode is damning in my judgment. This shows that Media CAT is a party who, while coming to court to discontinue, is at the very same time trying to ram home claims formulated on exactly the same basis away from the gaze of the court. That will not do. I find that these notices of discontinuance are indeed an abuse of the court’s process. The advantage of discontinuing as opposed to applying to amend is unwarranted in that it avoids judicial scrutiny of the underlying basis for wider campaign orchestrated by Media CAT and ACS:Law to generate revenue under the various agreements such as the Sheptonhurst agreement.
One might think a claimant (and their legal adviser) who was giving their claim serious further consideration before perhaps starting it afresh in a different form or dropping it altogether, would certainly not assert the very same claim against other people not (yet) before the court. The GCB episode shows that Mr Crossley’s client had every intention of doing precisely that and that ACS:Law were perfectly well aware of it. It is very difficult not to draw the inference that this was nothing more than a last ditch attempt to make some money from the letter writing exercise.
And maybe the most damning part with implications for the Digital Economy Bill, that an IP address alone; “cannot and does not purport to identify the individual who actually did anything.”
Just listened to the “BBC RADIO 5 Investigates” Program Good effort on their part. 30 minutes dedicated to this issue.
This is an article from MusicAlly, an industry site.
This article includes contributions from the excellent Beingthreatened.com and your favourite “amateurish shouty, unprofessional” Blog ACS:BORE
Please download the musically Article
Musically is a subscription based website aimed at the industry, but they have kindly released this part of the article.
Thanks also to Enigmax at Torrentfreak
EDIT: Link is now fixed
It is the news that thousands of people have been waiting to hear. It has been a long time coming but finally the authority that regulates Solicitors in the UK the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has finally referred Andrew Crossley head of ACS:LAW to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).
Crossley is no stranger to the Tribunal he has already appeared TWICE before (http://www.sra.org.uk/documents/consumers/SDT/Crossley%209346.05_0206.pdf)
From this Transcript of his SECOND appearance on 2nd February 2006 it can be seen in the summary
“At a hearing on 31st October 2002 the allegation that the Respondent had been guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor because he failed to file with the Law Society his Accountant’s Reports for the periods ending 31st December 1999 and 31st December 2000 was substantiated.”
One has to wonder if a Solicitor who has appeared what will be THREE times can possibly continue in his position. This all follows on from the Davenport Lyons people being referred to the same Tribunal for the same “Speculative Invoicing” plan.
Tilly Bailey Irvine are no longer under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA), after they quit the “Speculative Invoicing” that their were doing.
A new business called Gallant Macmillan has recently started the same kind of plan, representing the Ministry of Sound”. It would seem on the balance of probability Gallant Macmillan, will face the same fate that has befallen the previous companies that they sought to emulate in the near future. Unless of course Gallant Macmillan take the course of Tilly Baily and Irvine and quit to salvage some vestige of their reputation.
Andrew Crossley has been bragging recently that he has reclaimed a “million pounds for my clients”, a Lawyer with Zuxxez has told ACS BORE “If Andrew Crossley has recouped a million pounds it certainly wasn’t with us”.
It seems the Brains of the operation Terence Tsang has escaped any recriminations maybe as he was just the Para-Legal, but it is strange that he left ACS:LAW to go to Cramer Pelmont shortly after acquiring a “new Monitoring Software” the software that ACS:LAW claims uncovers file sharers and is NOT compromised by anything such as spoofing or cloning. (If it was so perfect as Crossley claims why then the new software acquired by Tsang).
Which? Consumer group have been a major force in this coming to a conclusion and their excellent posts and appearances in the media have been invaluable in keeping this in the spotlight. Indeed such has been their high profile that Andrew Crossley himself wrote a Press Release called “Which? Hunt” which bemoaned what he saw as Which? attempting to hassle the SRA into action. Nothing of the sort of course it was not just Which? but just typing ACS LAW into google will uncover 100’s of links to forums that contain thousands of posts.
Only FIVE Months ago I posted a piece on here regarding the “Davenport TWO” and speculated that it would not be long before Crossley followed in their footsteps, I wonder now how long for the others operating this ghastly method of protecting “rights”
Of course the time taken to deal with this is a joke, as it was with Davenport Lyons, all I can say though is IF the time taken has been because it is a THOROUGH investigation that will result in the STRONGEST possible punishment for these people, then all I can say is it is time well spent.
Of course Andrew Crossley is one of those people who would not smell smoke if his hair was on fire. We await with anticipation what will happen now with the SDT. Exciting times….
For more on this story see the Excellent Torrentfreak Article http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharing-lawyers-to-face-disciplinary-tribunal-100823/
ACS:LAW The heartwarming story of Andrew Jonathon Crossley (Or how he overcame financial problems to fleece the innocent… allegedly)
How heart warming it is to see that a man who as a result of being clinically depressed in 1999 suffered a stroke which in turn caused temporary complete blindness which in turn caused him to be unable to file his solicitors accounts on time or even at all for FIVE separate periods totalling FORTY-EIGHT months between periods ending 31st Dec 1999 and 31st December 2003, a period during which coincidentally this poor man was forced to enter into an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), was fined and ordered to be suspended indefinitely by an SRA tribunal in 2002, a man who had to face the further ignominy and trauma of a second disciplinary hearing in 2006 has recovered from this clinical depression and blindness enough to not only rebuild a career but a career as a successful* solicitor no less.
I hope all those Innocent falsely accused people who are currently experiencing financial troubles can draw some strength from this brave mans story for it appears (from his own website at least) that he is achieving a massive 80% success rate with his speculative invoicing campaign which by my rough calculations means his letter drop of 2009 has netted him in excess of £2.25m from internet users.
Let this man Andrew Jonathon Crossley be an inspiration in your darkest moments, let his triumph over depression, blindness indebtedness and insolvency spur you on.
That a man who for years was unable to get to grips with the numbers involved with his own basic practice accounts can just a few years later become an expert legal pioneer in the field of IP address’s and forensics is remarkable and gives me hope that one day I might yet go on to become a rocket scientist or invent the time-machine despite my poor showing in pure and applied maths and physics at A level.
The full story. LINK
The only Andrew J Crossley registered with the law society, (admission date 15/07/1991 see disciplinary report). LINK
* Well not that successful if you were to ask Vince Acors the Dubai “sex on the beach” chappie.
Who was Vince Acors PR man?*
Andrew J Crossley has been the subject of not one but TWO SRA tribunals involving failure to submit accounts. The previous hearing took place in December 2002, here’s the decision:
“..the Tribunal could not allow the current failures on the part of the Respondent to continue indefinitely. For this reason, the Tribunal ordered that the Respondent be suspended from practice for an indefinite period to commence on the 31st January 2003 but confirmed that should he regularise his position and file his outstanding annual Accountant’s Reports with The Law Society by that date then the sanction imposed upon him by the Tribunal would be that of a reprimand and not a suspension. It was right that the Respondent should pay the Applicant’s costs and the Tribunal ordered that these be paid in the fixed sum of £1,250 plus VAT, a figure with which the Respondent agreed.”
(The Respondent did regularise his position and was reprimanded)
* We now know that the PR guy was Lee Bowden of Piri Ltd, Media C.A.T, and the Text Works. Media C.A.T? yep the very same ones who have now hired ACS:LAW to track down copyright infringers! ** Original Article posted by Jasper1965 on CAG February 2010
Today is the First year anniversary of ACS:LAW sending out their “Speculative Invoices” of course when I say “they” I really mean Andrew J Crossley. Let us not make ACS:LAW sound more grand than what it really is. A one man band.
So with all the “Forensic” Evidence and “Airtight” cases, WHERE are the chances to stand in court then Andrew? One Year? No Court cases? shame on you!