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.
As has been already reported this week, Davenport Lyons duo, Dave Gore and Brian Miller have been punished by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. One would have thought that this would be an end to the saga, many thinking that they got off quite lightly with just a £20,000 fine and a suspension of a mere three Months.
Not good enough for Davenport Lyons though, they plan to appeal…. After wreaking havoc for two years on the General public before introducing us to ACS:LAW and Andrew Crossley. During their two year regime of Speculative Invoicing, they were featured on the BBC Watchdog Program incurred the wrath of Which Consumer Group and also Internet Forum Slyck and influential Blog TorrentFreak.
Why did they garner such attention? Well apart from the accusations of Old Age Pensioners sharing games and others some quite vile Pornography films :2:, the people of Britain realised that this was NOT the “Piracy Crusade”, it was made out to be.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority investigated, (some say to slowly), and they found there was a case to answer, the Davenport Duo were hauled before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in a hearing that lasted a whole week and were found guilty on SIX counts of violating the Solicitors Code of Conduct.
They have issued a response to the sanctions levelled at the two Solicitors involved:
‘We consider the decision of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal and sanctions imposed against David Gore and former partner, Brian Miller, are totally unjustified.
Well see how foolish the opening line is? Unjustified? Davenport Lyons are a Firm of Solicitors regulated by the Soliciors Regulation Authority(SRA), they were investigated by the SRA and found wanting, FULLY JUSTIFIED.
‘Davenport Lyons is a leading law firm with highly specialist intellectual property lawyers. We were instructed by the owners of intellectual property rights in music, film and games to help them curtail the significant losses they were suffering as a result of the unlawful file-sharing of their products.
As a “Leading law firm”, they should have known better. Instructed by Owners of Intellectual property? Hmmm like maybe John Stagliano or maybe Digiprotect? . Hmmm Confusing I think as the SRA has stated, ‘used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim, either for their own or for the benefit of their clients’ speaks for itself.
The steps we took on behalf of our clients were for the protection of their legitimate legal rights. We consider that we acted in our clients’ best interests at all times.
Well Digiprotect was one of your clients, and here goes: DigiProtect is acting on behalf of one of the biggest adult studios in the United States, Evil Angel, run by American porn mogul John Stagliano. When contacted, Mister Stagliano appeared to be unaware of the £500 DigiProtect is demanding from alleged file-sharers to settle out of court.
“It’s not my understanding that they ask for anything near that. I think the amount was $50 (£34) or €50 (£43),” he said. “I would be very surprised and I wouldn’t be happy because it would mean it was completely misrepresented to me.”
Now what is Digiprotects Corporate Motto again…? Ahh yes “turn piracy into profit”
‘We wholeheartedly support David and Brian’s intention to appeal both the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal’s original decision and the resulting suspension and fine.’
I am sure you do, but as Michael Coyle of Lawdit said of you in the beginning…
“The cynical lawyer in me would say this is a money-making exercise. “If you send out 10,000 letters and ask for £500 each time, you only have to get half to pay up and you’ve made a significant amount of money. “Because it is porn, the person who’s being accused won’t want to go to court and is more likely to pay up to make the matter go away even if they are completely innocent.”
And more interestingly this is what Judge Birss said of those who followed you in this “Speculative Invoicing” 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,” said the Judge. “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?”
Why don’t you just hold your hands up and say “We are sorry, we are sorry for the pain we have caused by our false accusations and the linking of innocent peoples name to such horrid vile pornography.”
I will leave the last word to Andrew Crossley the Solicitor who you (According to the SRA) helped to set up and carry on the “work” you started.
The hearing will take place on
August 18th 2011 (The date of the hearing is yet to be set thanks to those eagle eyed readers who spotted the mistake.)
The allegations are or contain the following
1) Allowed his independence to be compromised
2) Acted contrary to the best interests of his clients
3) Acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public places in him or in the legal profession
4) Entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the Courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law
5) Acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted, in particular because there was a conflict with those of his clients
6) Used his position as a Solicitor to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons being recipients of letters of claim either for his own benefit or for the benefit of his clients.
7) Acted without integrity in that he provided false information in statements made to the Court.
We at ACS:BORE are pleased with these charges and think they largely cover what we and many others have been saying for the last two years. We look forward to seeing the hearing in practice and feel sure that these allegation whilst unproven at the moment, will be thoroughly pursued with the full weight of the law.
This is not the first time that Andrew Crossley has appeared, this will be his THIRD time. One has to ask how many times can a Solicitor be pulled in before the Disciplinary Tribunal and be allowed to continue. We look forward to August and hope it will be a FULL vindication for all those innocent people affected by the actions of ACS:LAW and their cohorts.
Many of those who engaged with ACS:LAW in bringing this misery to the general public will NOT be tried, but for those who follow this Blog, we at least know who they are.
Thanks to Enigmax!
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
The Notorious ACS:LAW Solicitor Andrew Crossley who has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal is no stranger AT all. Many Blogs and news articles have stated that this will be Crossleys Second time before the Tribunal however here at ACSBORE we can confirm it will in fact be his THIRD time in front of the Tribunal.
Although the report of the maverick lawyers Second appearance has been available on the SRA Website, the FIRST appearance has been harder to track down, but WE HAVE GOT IT and it makes for some interesting reading.
I have posted the Document for your own perusal and I will not go into to much detail. One of the most striking things is the way that Andrew Crossely uses his health and an unfortunate string of events outside his control as an excuse for not filing his financial report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority that is required to show that a clients finances are not being mishandled.
In the Finding that found Crossley of committing “Conduct unbefitting a Solicitor” which Crossley did NOT accept, is a section where he claims to have been struck Blind with a Stroke at 36, and also troubles with a rogue accountant who “Blackmailed” Crossley by demanding money before the release of paperwork.
The Blackmail charge is a charge that has been used AGAINST Crossley by the House of Lords and many letter recipients who have received his “Pay up or else face Court” Letters, letters that Crossley laughingly calls “an invitation to enter into a compromise”. Maybe his ex Accountants should have used that excuse!
After employing a new accountant Crossley claims that that one also did him wrong bemoaning the “High Cost” of £500 for “Writing one letter and talking to the respondent(Crossley) Twice”
Those innocent people who have received letters of claim for a similar amount might think Crossley got a better deal for his £500 than what they got!
One further point is that Crossley has no problems using his illness as mitigating factors where he has never to my knowledge shown that to any of the people he has sent his “Speculative Invoices” to.
With news breaking the Logistep one of Crossley favoured data managers being BANNED from their country of origin and a group of Solicitors persuing ACS:LAW through the Courts for harrassment, this whole nasty mess might be starting to fade. Let us hope this is true
Andrew Crossleys FIRST appearance (31_10_2002) at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (Please Click for the PDF of the findings)
Many people have received a letter from either ACS:LAW or Gallant Macmillan. These letters seem to act like a dragnet in that they may well identify the occasional person who is accused of file sharing who actually did it, but far to many times the dragnet has included many who are wholly innocent of what they have been accused of.
The wording of the letters of ACS:LAW and Gallant Macmillan are VERY similar and they have also used the same “Monitoring” Software.
With the recent news that ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley is following Davenport Lyons in being referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, a lot of people receiving a letter from Gallant Macmillan have started coming forward, claiming innocence.
With all this in mind ACS BORE has obtained a Proforma from the Solicitors Regulation Authority for people to fill out details of the letters they have received, as the SRA are looking to end this practice. This practise after all is very corrosive to the trust that people have in the Legal profession.
Here is a link to help you complete the form that the SRA require. It is a simple form that will not take long at all to fill out. PLEASE DO IT
Solicitors Regulation Authority
Tel: 0870 606 2555
Fax: 0207 320 5964
Here is a link to the previous appearances by Andrew Crossley at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
This letter sending dragnet of “Speculative Invoicing will ONLY stop when the SRA has a loud and booming voice saying “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, THIS IS NOT JUSTICE” and one of the best ways we can provide that voice is by filling out the form and sending it to them. If YOU do nothing then dont expect ANYTHING to change
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….