An aggrieved SIF claimant is taking the unprecedented step of reporting some of the mutual fund's top solicitors – including its managing director – to the OSS over the way his claim was handled.
Michael Jones, who makes sound recordings used by film and television companies, had six claims against a solicitor, arising from a dispute over the soundtrack for the TV series Murder She Wrote, which was dismissed by SIF.
Jones says his complaints against the solicitor are currently being investigated by the OSS.
He says he sought compensation from SIF in the meantime on the advice of the OSS, and claims SIF's dismissal of his claim was unfair.
He now plans to report SIF's Andrew Sandford Smith, who dealt with his claim, and MD Elizabeth Mullins, who received copies of all his correspondence to the fund, to the OSS, claiming that they did not act with the due care expected of their position.
The complaint alleges 15 failings on the part of the two SIF employees, ranging from failing to take an unbiased position on the investigation of his claim or take account of legal precedent, to failing to examine properly the evidence he provided.
He says: “SIF overlooked the fact that, as solicitors, they have a continuing duty outside their responsibility to their firm.
“I am entitled to have the actions of those solicitors that work for the fund looked at by the regulators before having to consider any other steps.”
He says he is unwilling to pursue any action through the courts because although he is entitled to legal aid, he does not want to “line the pockets of solicitors or enhance the lifestyle of barristers”.
He adds: “They asked me for supporting evidence and then ignored it and ruled against me. I expect SIF not to turn a blind eye.”
A SIF spokeswoman says she is not aware of such a step being taken before and says: “The claim was properly investigated and was rejected on the grounds that no liability was established against the solicitor in question.”