ACS:Law file-sharing claims finally settle as SRA moves on firm chief

The saga of claims brought by ACS:Law against individuals accused of file-sharing has come to a conclusion with all outstanding claims settling.

Ralli, the law firm acting for some of the individuals who had been facing claims from ACS:Law, said the matters “have been settled on a basis confidential between the parties”.

Meanwhile, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published the charges facing ACS:Law founder Andrew Crossley when he appears before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) later this year.

decision to prosecute Crossley before the tribunal was made in August 2010, it was not published until this week.

The SRA claimed Crossley acted contrary to his clients’ best interest and in a way that would diminish public trust in him and the legal profession. It also alleged that he used his position as a solicitor to take, or attempt to take, unfair advantage of other people either for his own benefit of the benefit of his clients.

Additionally the decision alleges Crossley provided false information in statements made to the courts.

ACS:Law was bringing claims against a number of individuals who, it was alleged, had illegally downloaded and shared copyrighted material – including pornographic films. The defendants were among a much larger number of people who had been sent letters by the firm on behalf of its client Media CAT, asking for £495 as compensation for the downloads.

The cases were heard several times in the Patents County Court, even after Crossley said he was dropping the claims (25 January 2011) and closed ACS:Law down (8 February 2011).

In April Judge Birss QC handed down a strongly critical judgment on the wasted costs application made by the defendants (27 April 2011).

Due to the settlement, the second stage of the costs application will now not proceed.

Although the claims have settled, Ralli is pursuing a potential harassment claim on behalf of those who received letters from ACS:Law and other firms.