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”
To those who have endured the letters of ACS:LAW from May 2009, the news is simply stunning, albeit there is an air of cynicism to be had. It is true that ACS:LAW and their symbiotic monster Media C.A.T have ceased trading. It was announced in yet another leaked email, an email sent by Andrew Crossley confirming that not only had he closed his business but to prove the point of connection with his long time friend Lee Bowden, he also announced that Bowden’s company Media C.A.T was also closing up shop.
The SRA as has been reported has already referred Crossley to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for a THIRD time. The decision to fold BOTH companies just days before a Judge was due to hold a hearing regarding costs and damages, must be to all but the most positive thinking airhead to be in the least suspicious. Can a limited company be held for costs and damages IF it no longer exists?
What is disturbing, it that on the date of the second hearing, Bowden not being present, it has transpired that he was busy setting up another Limited Company…now I know this sounds to unbelievable but it is sadly true. The Company “100 Mile Media” was registered as a domain, as can be seen here.
Lee Bowden is the Managing Director of “Piri Ltd” and the “The Textworks”, as well as Media C.A.T, there will be others I am sure. What is so galling is that it seems that Bowden will be able to walk away from all this “Scot free”, his company being a Limited Company will protect him against costs that would have been surely awarded against him. Bowden was described by ACS:LAW as a “Copyright Expert”, well, in addition to that he has also been a “Public Relations Agency” and also “Building Development”.
We will have to see what happens at 14:00 on Tuesday 8th February at the Patents Court. What will become of the data that ACS:LAW still hold on people? Will it be destroyed or sold off to someone else?
Andrew Crossley acquired a Limited Company called “Larper Ltd” back in April 2010. What is worrying is that come the hearing on the 8th February, unless Judge Birss finishes the practice of “Speculative Invoicing” it can be picked back up by changing limited companies, folding and starting anew, I realise of course there are more parameters involved, ie the NPO granting, which I doubt will be allowed to be given out as freely as in the past.
Also of note is the number of EX ACS:LAW employees busy scratching the name of the Company from their CVs (Leyla Mehru, hello). I believe we need to keep an eye out for the main players activities in all this, Adam Glen, Jonathan Miller, Terence Tsang seem to be the main ones in addition to Crossley and Bowden. We have already seen that Miller plus one other “Ex ACS:LAW employee” were behind GCB Ltd.
These are the details of the companies setup by Bowden and Crossley (I have included Media C.A.T as it seems interesting that it shares the same “Virtual space” as his new Company.
Name & Registered Office:
100 MILE MEDIA LIMITED
2 ND FLOOR
43 WHITFIELD STREET
Date of Incorporation: 24/01/2011
Company No. 07503354
Name & Registered Office:
MEDIA C.A.T. LTD
c/o GATEWAY PARTNERS
43 WHITFIELD STREET
Date of Incorporation: 29/04/2002
Company No. 04426555
Name & Registered Office:
c/o ACS LAW SOLICITORS
20 HANOVER SQUARE
Date of Incorporation: 06/04/2010
Company No. 07213422